One question I often hear when talking about museums is if it’s truly possible to do a quality museum visit when accompanied by friends. Some clam that just like studying, visiting museums cannot be a group activity at all, unless it’s a project that involves some teamwork.
While visiting museums is a cool fun and social activity, it’s also a discovery and different people have different discovery desires. Even if you agree to visit a museum of arts, someone will look at the sculpture, someone else at paintings.
Someone will agree to visit an archaeological museum with a friends just to end up bored for lack of affinity. Everyone has that friend who will passionately talk about a wider context about something presented in a museum, without caring if the others want to listen about it. Trust me, I used to be that person, so I know very well what I’m talking about.
So is it even possible to visit museums with other people and avoid getting frustrated? Is there any way to enjoy the peaceful, solitary museum environment when surrounded by others’ desires, passions, ideas, and all kind of annoyance?
I think so.
Let me tell you one story.
10 years ago I had a group of friends from the University and we decided to go for a trip together, for two weeks. Yes, two weeks. It was such a long time for a group of unrelated young people to spend together, forced to have patience and tolerance for each other.
We were around 20 and very childish. Most of these people never traveled much before, while I did, but only with my parents. My parents were always focused on traveling, dedicated to get the best experiences, never wasting time on overthinking, etc. That new experience had nothing to do with my beautiful family trips.
These young people I joined for that two weeks trip were mostly unaware of what traveling means. They were not prepared to spend the entire days walking around and discovering the places. Their physical and mental stamina for traveling was badly lacking. Anyway, they were relaxed and they just knew they wanted to eat and sleep more than they imagine they would. I was the one who was nervous to take the most of that experience. My anxiety affected their well-being.
It was far from a win-win situation. It was rather a huge loss-loss situation.
Humans are sociable beings. We all love to have a good time together, but I repeat, a good time together, not just some kind of time together. But still, we should not expect such a good time together to just happen. Now this article sounds pretty much like a dating thing, but it’s all about the attitude we take towards people we hang out with, family, friends, or whoever.
The best way to have a beautiful time in a museum with your family and friends is by talking in advance, explaining your desire, asking them questions, and planning the pace of the visit.
I have previously wrote about it in my article “How to visit a museum“, and just like it happens with all my museum work, I came up with new, updated ideas.