Tips for Visiting a Museum
Be respectful of others. You don’t have to whisper or avoid talking all together. But you should be sure your actions aren’t disturbing the people around you. If there is a tour going on nearby, don’t talk to your family or friends in full voice. Wait until you are past the group to have your conversation. If you are on the tour, please don’t hold a conversation of your own in the back of the group. It is distracting for the tour guide and the other people who are trying to enjoy the tour. Also, don’t talk loudly on your cell phone during your visit. If the call is important, step outside.
Absolutely do not touch anything. Museums are full of rare and valuable artifacts and artwork that are often quite old. The oils on your hands are invisible to your eye, but over time they can react with the artifact and cause permanent damage. You don’t want to be the one who breaks something after it has been preserved for generations, do you? The ropes are there for a reason. Don’t go behind them. If you are supposed to touch something, there will likely be a sign or a museum staff member to guide you through the interactive. If you are unsure if you can touch it, ask first.
Do not bring food and drink outside of designated areas. Crumbs and spills are not just a mess, they may attract pests that could harm the artifacts and artwork in the museum’s collection. Museums ask you to keep your refreshments in spaces that are usually not located near exhibition galleries or storage spaces to protect the collection.
Each museum has a unique camera policy in place. Some museums don’t allow any photography at all. Others permit photography without a flash only. If the admissions staff member does not address that policy, please ask. Museums are not trying to deprive you of memories of your visit. Security reasons or preserving the collection are the most common reasons photography is prohibited. Over time, repeatedly exposing the artifact to the bright light of a camera flash can permanently damage the piece.
Use your museum visit as a way to teach children appropriate museum behavior. Set a good example for them by following the guidelines listed here. Don’t allow them to run around or shout in the galleries. A museum is a place to learn, not a playground. Children and adults alike should use their walking feet and indoor voices.
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