You might think that history is objective, but it’s also so much more than that. The subjective value of times gone by can have a dramatic impact on our lives. That is if we give it a chance to. Hence the reason why many find museums to be boring. “Why bother going to one when you can simply look at pictures on the internet?”
But they’re not quite as dull as one might think.
Standing in front of a piece of history/art can leave a profound impact on visitors if they open their minds to the idea. Being there in the moment is an entirely different experience. So if you’re a skeptic and want some motivation to make your next visit to a museum more entertaining and knowledgeable, we’ve listed a few tips that will come in handy. Let’s begin.
Start with a wax museum
One of the most important things about visiting a museum is searching for what they have on display in advance. For example, before visiting a wax museum, look up a thing or two about some of pop culture’s most famous icons. Reading up about the life and achievements of these stars is one of the best ways to enjoy the experience and take away a deeper appreciation for the outing.
A quick Google search is everything you need before you visit a wax museum or any museum for that matter. Learn about the greats like Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, and The King himself, Elvis Presley. These are just some of the most famous names that come to mind. Wax houses are generally a great place to pique your interest before moving to other museums. Once you develop the habit and appreciate the charm of such an outing, you can consider looking at art and history.
Read the plaques
If you find yourself merely walking around and observing what’s on display, you’re doing something wrong. There are brief descriptions underneath every museum piece, and they’re there for a reason. It would be wise for you to read about the artwork before moving forward to the next one. Sometimes the most mundane-looking artifacts may have a unique story that you would never have learned about if you hadn’t read the description. It’s also a way of showing history the respect that it deserves. It would be a tragedy to walk around with thousands of combined years of history and only take it at face value.
You will have to polish your quick reading skills if you want to make the best use of time since some of the descriptions can be lengthy. If you aren’t in the habit, consider reading short summaries/paragraphs to hone your skills.
Book a tour guide
If you are new to visiting museums, or art in general, consider booking a private tour guide in advance. It may cost a bit extra, but it will surely be worth it when you learn the intricate details of the works of art in front of you.
A tour guide helps take you around and shows you the most exciting exhibitions in the area. Moreover, rather than reading the plagues, the tour guide will likely give you an oral summary of what you are looking at. Moreover, with a hired guide, you stand to spend less time in the museum. You generally wrap things up in a shorter duration.
Aimlessly wandering around the halls of a museum grasping for something engaging is pointless. Not only are you wasting your time, but you might develop an aversion to the experience. Hire a guide, learn all the good stuff, and leave satisfied.
Some people advise new visitors not to take pictures of the exhibitions because it takes away from the charm of being there in person. We can see that they indeed have a point. Still, if you feel a sense of fascination by a specific display – and if the curator allows it – there’s no harm in taking a picture or two to remember it.
This visit is about developing your interest. You should have the liberty to internalize the experience whichever way you see fit. If taking pictures and reviewing them later gives you a greater appreciation, then so be it. Plus, you can teach your friends and family about some of the things you saw to blossom the love for history in them as well. However, before you take pictures, ensure you have permission. Some exhibitions prohibit photography, so you may want to be careful.
Don’t push yourself
If you are being forced to appreciate your surroundings in a museum, you probably aren’t going to. Developing a fascination for something cannot be forced; it has to come semi-naturally. Sure, someone can give you the exposure, but if it’s not meant to be, you can’t push yourself.
As we mentioned earlier, developing a passion for history and museums is a niche in your personality. It’s only those unique parts of your personality that you don’t particularly boast about and enjoy in private. Therefore, it has to be a you-thing. If you aren’t feeling it, don’t go. Not only are you doing a disservice to yourself, but the wealth of history before you.
Without an understanding of history, we wouldn’t be where we currently are in society. We have learned, developed, and respected the times gone by to find ourselves where we are. So whether it’s acknowledging thousand-year-old Mayan artifacts or appreciating a weapon from the First World War, learn from it. One of the best ways to understand and appreciate history is by visiting a museum. This article mentions some ways you can make such a visit exciting and memorable. Keep these in mind next time you walk into one.