How to take the most of your Visits to Museums?

Yeah, I know, this is not the first time you see a title like this on my blog. There has been a year since I started working on an idea of embracing museums.

But now I went further. By publishing my manifesto, I somehow declare my clear opinion that museums are not intellectual, elegant, smart, old-school, or anything like that. Museums are just friendly spaces full of stories, mystery, fun, emotions, and occasionally some awareness-raising. 

This blog has nothing to do with any typical museum stuff. This is not your typical thing to talk or analyse museum, art, science, or culture things.

The whole idea I suggest is about experiences, real people’s experiences, things that go on, individuals who pass by. This is all about museums should be as live creatures, something wonderfully created by the humans.

Coimbra, Portugal
Museu Nacional Machado de Castro, Coimbra, Portugal

So, how to take the most of your visit to a museum?

If you want to get a deeper introduction to this topic, you can also read my old article How to Visit a Museum.

Here I come with some new, fresh perspectives.

1.Never ever think that you should be prepared to visit a museum!

It’s the 21st century and museums are inclusive. You don’t need to have a college/university degree to visit museums. If you don’t feel like belonging to a certain museum, probably that museum didn’t really meet up the criteria of inclusion. You should just think why you don’t feel welcome and address the issue. Don’t hesitate to contact me for a piece of conversation, I will try my best to give you some 15 minutes if you have a nice idea.

2.Use the museum as a place of “meditation” and relaxation

Never be tense when visiting museums. Museums are not supposed to be places for people to be nervous. Instead, museums are aimed to make you relax. I found an article saying that some younger people have replaced yoga with visits to museums. Sounds interesting, right?

3.Use the museum as a place for strengthening your general knowledge

Books, news, movies, podcasts, videos on YouTube, all these things may or may not equal enhancing knowledge and general culture. But nothing makes it better than museums, trust me. First of all, museums are places for real experiences. 

4.Become a frequent visitor of your local museum

Seriously, don’t be one of those people who only visit museums when traveling. There is no need to feel proud by saying “trust me, I have never been there and I live nearby”. I know it will always be close to you, but visit, enjoy, and appreciate your local museums. Recommend them to people who travel to your place, and visit them often. Doing some volunteering also helps in staying in touch with these museums, and it certainly helps your well-being. 

I’m from Croatia. We have a lot of museums that local people don’t know about. I know how sad it is.

5.Not over-museum when traveling

Traveling and wanting to see a lot of classical art or great natural history collections? It’s soooo easy to completely over-museum yourself! Don’t do it. Pick a right amount of museums, and prefer quality over quantity. If you are in Lisbon, visit Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga in the morning, have lunch in their garden, then continue exploring the streets of the city. But notice, Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga is not the closest one to attractions you will likely want to visit. It’s Portugal’s biggest museum, located a bit off the beaten path in the capital city. 

6.Visit different types of museums

Don’t stick to art museums. Also, don’t avoid art museums if “you are not into arts”. Be open-minded, that’s a key to happiness.

I used to say that there is a perfect museum for each and every person, but now I claim anyone can get that free minded to visit different kinds of museums and get out of their comfort zone. 

7.Do what you feel like doing, and not what others do in museums.

Do other people bring a book to museums and read when relaxing on chairs? How many other people draw in museums? Is it possible that many people take selfies in museums? Certainly many people do, but you don’t need to do what others do for the sake of being “trendy”, and feel like trash because you didn’t do it well enough. Do what you feel like doing.

8.Don’t buy into any hype. Seriously.

Let me explain one thing. Apart from being a museum goer, writer, social media advisor and so on, I’m a sports fan in my free time. I love to watch handball, football (the thing Americans call soccer), and tennis. I learn a lot about some real life patterns and strategic thinking by understanding these games. Guess what? There is a lot of hype in these sports. Okay, handball not that much, because it’s not that globally followed. But in football and tennis you see three interesting phenomena: 1) debates about who is “the greatest ever” and fanatical people claiming that their fave is something like that, 2) stories about romantic “talents” who could have achieved those what-if better careers if they were just this or that, and 3) young players coming up, they are soooo awesome and talented, they will certainly manage to achieve this or that!

Got the point? It’s the definition of hype. Instead of following the substance of a game and strategy, people join the foolish highlights and the idea of some “attractive” game. 

Museums are not immune to that thing either. There are more and more websites full of must-visit lists. It’s terrible when people visit some museums or temporary exhibitions because they thing they should do it. “Blockbuster temporary exhibitions”, oh yeah. The most common reasons why people get heavily disappointed in museums.

So yeah, that’s it. Another piece of text in which I’m polishing my idea about museums. I hope you enjoy!

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