I’ve known about this certain affliction I've had ever since I was a young child. We were visiting Southern California in the early 80s and my Aunt took me and my sister to The Huntington Museum. To this day, I still remember turning a corner and seeing Pink Lady and Little Boy Blue adorning the walls. I was hooked. So now, I have to preface the following comments with this disclaimer: Hi, my name is Chris, and I am a Museum Addict.
If you haven’t made a museum your destination of choice on a trip, I highly recommend that you plan a Museum Vacation, sooner rather than later. I have never been to a museum where I haven’t been surprised at a find, and enriched from finding it.
On a recent business trip, I decided to stay the weekend rather than bolting home on Friday. The pluses of this arrangement – I had already been in the city (San Francisco) for a few days, so I had gotten my bearings; I had researched the city’s museums to determine what my path would be; and I found a great hotel rate by doing my homework before I left (more to come on that!). My goals were lofty. I wanted to visit 3. I made it to 2. And at the end of the weekend, I was recharged to fill my life with color because of what I saw (more on that soon, too!).
Here are the benefits of museum vacations.
1. Museums can enrich your knowledge of all sorts of areas, people, and the history of both. Educators say, we learn more from seeing, hearing and reading combined than any of those in isolation. When you’re at a museum, you can see the artifact, you can read about it, and sometimes, you can listen to a guided tour of it or – if you’re really lucky – you can talk with others in whom you see your passion for pieces you find.
2. Museums are self-contained worlds. A museum usually has an interior café, so you can literally stay for hours and not have to leave feeling like you need to scavenge the brush out back for berries and seeds. They’re like movie theaters, but you aren’t asked to leave after two hours when the feature ends because the feature only ends when the doors close for the evening.
3. Museums contain people! When your attention is totally taken toward the Monet at the end of the gallery, there are usually people there who share your enthusiasm. You can also meet solo travelers in the museum cafés (see #1). They can be great grounds for striking up a conversation and meeting new people – even in your home town.
4. Museums have gift shops. If you find a piece that really moves you, odds are, you can find a way to take it home with you and continue to get the positive energy from it. And as the old saying goes, “the best gift to give is one that you would want to receive.” If your vacation return will put you in a room with people asking the time-honored question of “what did you bring me?” you can find some unique and fabulous gifts there.
5. At a museum you’ll rarely hear the phrase, “Just one?” When you’re a solo traveler, it’s a breath of fresh air to have a place that is used to seeing singletons!
If you equate museums with taxidermy and dust, blow the dust off your perception and hoof on over to a museum on your next solo travel journey.