One thing I want to help get across to people is that museums are fun, and that there is no one right way to visit one. You should be enjoying your time there, whether it’s for a talk or lecture, quiet contemplation, a children’s open day, or the great tea and scones at the cafe.
One great way to visit a museum if you aren’t necessarily super up on the art world or all the details of all the paintings or other works, is to create your own scavenger hunt, in a way. Pick something ahead of time that you like, and look for that throughout your visit. You’ll be examining the art and artifacts, and indulging a passion of yours at the same time.
I have a recent/ongoing example.
One of my best friends loves elephants. I recently (ish. maybe a couple of months ago?) posted a photo of a piece of art on instagram that inspired her to say ‘if you see any more elephants, post them and tag me in them’ (more or less).
Now I can’t stop seeing them.
And that’s great. That means that walking through a huge museum like the British Museum, in London, that there can be a focus. Trying to spot the elephants! (I have other focuses, too, but now this is one of them!) And they show up in most, if not all of the galleries. It’s fun to hunt for them, trying to to find where they might be, being surprised when they show up somewhere unexpectedly. It’s also interesting to compare all of their representations.
You can pick whatever you like- puppies, jewellery, a favourite colour, cats, depictions of love… possibilities are endless, really. Make your museum experience something you will enjoy; don’t think you just have to wander all the galleries, pretending you’re ‘in the know’ or stopping only at things everyone else is. That way you’ll have more fun, maybe start some discussions, maybe learn some things, maybe notice more than you would have otherwise. 🙂
Some of the elephants so far:
These are mostly from the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, and span many time periods and cultures, as well as mediums. An etruscan lamp, chinese and japanese ceramic, embroidery by Mary Queen of Scots. One theme can take you far!