Whether viewing a tiny historical exhibit in a sleepy resort village or spending days at a time exploring the Louvre on a Parisian vacation, visiting museums is one of the best ways to connect with local and global culture while traveling. However, for some people, a day at the museum feels like a dull high school field trip or an aimless excursion, even when attending exhibits at some of the world’s most important institutions. By approaching a visit to the museum correctly, you can be sure to have an excellent time no matter where you’re traveling.
First, begin by doing a bit of planning. Museums are most crowded during weekends and major exhibition openings, and mega-museums are almost always crowded, so consider selecting a smaller museum or attending one during the week. You will also want to consider a bit of homework to enrich your experience, as nothing improves one’s appreciation for art more than a healthy dose of context. On the other hand, some people simply like to go and enjoy the spectacle of the art or historical artifacts. There’s no wrong way to look at art. Those looking for the complete experience, however, should consider taking a guided tour, though it can be just as advantageous to hang around a work of art waiting for the walking tours to come through.
For children and adults alike, it’s important to remember that seeing everything is often impossible. At major museums like the Louvre or the Metropolitan, exploring the entire building is a foolish goal. Instead, make decisions about exactly what you want to see and consider blocking out half the day to do so, as no one appreciates art when their feet hurt and they feel mentally exhausted. If you want to introduce your children to museums, keeping a tight schedule can be crucial to avoid boredom. Remember to instruct your children on good museum etiquette, be on the lookout for family friendly exhibits, and do your best to show your kids how fun a museum can be when approached with the right attitude.