Art You Having Fun? - A Guide for Art Museum Newbies

In Boston, there are dozens of great art museums, many of which are free to students. Whether you’re looking for an engaging indoor activity during the winter months, or a way to escape the heat during the summer, a trip to a local art museum might be just the thing you need. However, as a lover of art museums, I’ve had many people tell me that they like art but feel like they don’t know enough to enjoy a trip to the museum. Well I’ll let you all in on a little secret — I don’t know anything about art either! You don’t have to know a lot about art to get something out of visiting a gallery or exhibit, you just have to know how to look at it.



Visit alone! 

While it can be helpful to look at art with a knowledgeable friend, I’ve found that there are more benefits to going to an art museum alone. This way you can take your time at each exhibit without worrying about matching someone else’s pace. It also allows you to move on from works that don’t spark your interest, because not every piece of art will draw in every person.

Source: We Heart It

Stop by the info desk!

If you don’t know where to start, that’s totally okay! Thankfully at art museums there are always plenty of people around who are more than happy to help you. If the museum you’re visiting has an information desk or a visitor services center, feel free to ask them to point out the highlights of their collection. Asking employees about their favorite exhibits or works of art is also a great way to engage and make the experience more personal.

Read the placards!

One of the most common mistakes that people make is skipping over the descriptive wall placards when walking through a gallery. Yes, it does take an extra effort to read them over, but it’s worth it to gain a better understanding of the piece you’re looking at. These descriptions often give historical context for the painting, or they explain the meaning that the artist is trying to convey. Sometimes, this information is crucial for informing how you feel about the art.

Love it! Hate it! Let yourself feel however you want about the art!

Sometimes it can be discouraging to walk through an art museum and see pieces you don’t like. Many people think this means that they just don’t “get” the art. I think this couldn’t be further from the truth. See a painting that makes you uncomfortable? Good! A statue that makes you sad, or a sketch that makes your blood boil? Amazing! Art is supposed to make you feel something. That feeling doesn’t have to be positive, and oftentimes it’s not even the artist’s goal to convey a positive feeling. As long as you are considering critically how the art is making you feel, you’ll get something out of the experience. 

Source: Artstur

Take breaks!

Museum fatigue is real, people! It’s very likely that you won’t be able to see everything in one trip. But if you’re determined to tackle a good amount of the museum in one day, there are definitely methods to avoid getting tired out. If the museum you’re at has a cafe, take advantage of it. A restaurant is even better for longer visits. And remember, the benches you are most likely seeing around the galleries are there for a reason. There’s no shame in taking a rest so you can enjoy your museum experience as much as possible. 

Listen to a good museum playlist!

Alright, admittedly this might not work for everyone all the time. However, if you do end up going to a museum alone, especially on a less crowded day, a calming playlist can be the perfect addition to your museum wandering. I would highly recommend this one, because an art museum is the perfect place to break out the slow piano jams. Even if that isn’t quite your speed, any playlist that you enjoy can add a little fun to your art museum visit. 

With all these new tips and tricks, hopefully you’re well-equipped to spend an afternoon wandering around your local art museum, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off style. 

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