As you know, I try to travel and go out of town as much as possible. I started discovering places unfamiliar to myself since my parents allowed me to go out with friends – I think I was already in college. Lol I can’t even remember where was my first out of town trip with friends. My only regret is I didn’t take so much time to explore stuff beyond those beautiful landscapes – people, culture, and arts.
Ever since I was a child, I am already a lover of all kinds of art. I don’t know why I didn’t think of looking further and learning more about art while traveling. So from now on, I’ll be visiting more museums, exhibits, and a loooot more places wealthy of beautiful colors and stories.
That being said, I’m sharing here some “unwritten” rules and policies which I thought to be obvious and, you know, common sense, but apparently, many people are still unaware of. As we all know, there are straightforward rules or what I call “written” rules in every exhibits and museums, the unwritten ones are just the generic items we need to keep in mind in every single trip we have.
Why do we have these rules? Curators spend centuries preserving these items just to show each and every passing generations the beauty of art. The people behind museums and exhibits deeply care for the pieces, the history, and our future. The least we can do for humans to continuously enjoy these things in the future is to be a responsible guests.
Museum and Exhibit Etiquette
People visit the museum with various reasons, and the least you can do to make the most of everyone’s experience is to minimize your noise – avoid talking too loud, avoid unnecessary murmurs with your friends, avoid taking phone calls. We are also expected to stay classy and avoid horsing around the area. We do not want to interrupt others’ viewing.
These artworks are sooooo delicate and precious – they won’t take their time putting on an exhibit if they’re just ordinary artifacts. Even though the item is openly displayed – no marked lines, or no glasses or cages, keep your hands off them. I know those lovely textures are tempting to touch, but always remember, “fingerprints are forever”, you don’t want to ruin the history of art just to say “oh I got to touch it”, you’ll just sound kind of stupid.
Check with your museum’s website. Some of these kinds prepare particular exhibitions that allows and promotes interactions with art pieces, but NOT ALL. Unless promoted, default rule is DO NOT TOUCH THE ARTWORK.
Take just enough photos.
I loooove taking pictures, but I try not to spoil the people who are yet to witness the place first-hand. Sometimes, on the other hand, I limit taking pictures to experience the exhibit first. I’m sure you would get your best experience if you stop worrying about your pictures.
Follow instructions on flash photography.
Museums try to eliminate all natural light and usually use filters to help preserve the artwork and prevent damages they can obtain by light. That’s the reason why most of the museums are dim to dark and some have colored walls like that of the National Museum.
Do not lean on the walls.
You’ll notice most (if not all) of the walls in the museum are painted in one solid color, at least per room or exhibit. As mentioned earlier, some use it as filters to limit the lights. Another is to create a cohesive look with every object in the room. Imagine yourself taking a nice picture of an artwork perfectly framed in a hot red wall, then there’s that annoying dirt at the center of your photo. Avoid leaning on the walls, keep your feet off the walls, consider the walls as part of the exhibition.
I know I missed some more items on the list, but I’ll learn along the journey. Or if you have something in mind, please help me update this written rules of unwritten rules. 🙂