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April 26, 2009

Enjoyable or Horrid?

A lot of people love visiting museums and art galleries. They can spend hours wandering through the various displays and visit a different museum each weekend.

Not me.

I visited Te Papa this weekend, New Zealand’s big museum in Wellington. I checked out the colossal squid exhibition (very cool) and the Monet art exhibition in one of the private galleries of the museum. I also enjoyed this very much, but that was enough for me. I was ready to leave.

I’ve always been like this with museums. An hour or two is my limit. Knowing my limitations, I tend to pick the galleries that interest me most and head straight there. I loved the historical costumes in the Victoria & Albert Museum. The bog man in the British Museum and the dinosaurs in the Natural History Museum in London all attracted my attention.

Any exhibitions that have things I can touch make me want to linger. I went around the colossal squid exhibit touching everything we were allowed to study at close quarters. A little girl followed me and we touched squid beaks and tentacles, grinning at each other the whole time. It was great fun. I didn’t touch any Monet paintings—all the guards put me off, but those “do not touch” signs really made me want to touch.

Do you like visiting museums? Do you have any favorite museums or things you love to see?


  1. Leah Braemel

    Hmm, how long I spend in a museum depends on the museum and what it contains. I spent hours in the textile section of the V&A when I went, never did see much else but we were limited for time. I’ve always said I’d love to spend a whole day there. The National Art Gallery in Ottawa has become a walkthrough for me since other than a small corner in the modern art section, the art never changes. There’s only so many times I can look at the Group of Seven before I have to move on. (To which art lovers will cringe and call me a philistine I’m sure.)

    I love museums that let you touch – but the only places I’ve been that let me touch were aquariums where they had shark tanks (like the one I went to in New Orleans). There’s one in St. Andrews By the Sea in New Brunswick where they have a big tank especially for picking up/touching star fish and sea cucumbers and all sorts of things. VERY hands on and that was WAY more fun than any other museum I’ve ever been to before.

  2. Roberta Harwell

    I’m not big on museums unless there is something I’m actually interested in. Just to go to a museum, no thanks. I need something that will hold my attention. Have a great day.

  3. Paz

    I like to go to museums, although I haven’t been to one in a really long time. I don’t like to stay there too long, though. I think it can become overwhelming.

    Last museum I went to is like a best kept secret in NYC (or it used to be. Now a lot of people have discovered and go there. It gets crowded now.). It’s the Neue museum, dedicated to 20th century Austrian/German art and design. They have a nice bookstore, design shop and 2 Viennese cafes. Makes you think you’re in Vienna when you step into the cafe.

    So, the last time I went, they had an exhibit of the renowned artist Gustav Klimt. He’s responsible for one of my favorite paintings, The Kiss.

    So, they had a lot of his art work up and to my surprise, they’d exhibited a LOT of erotic drawings that he’d done, I believe for his private collection. I kept thinking to myself that when he’d drawn those, he probably never thought they’d be hanging in a fancy building in NYC, years later. LOL!

    Visitors aren’t allowed to take photos in the buildings, so there were a lot of glaring guards ready to pounce on us. LOL!

    On second thought, next time I should make plans to visit a touching museum. That should be more fun, huh? ;-)

    Anywho, I write this long comment just to say I like to visit the museum but prefer to spend time there in small doses so that it’s not overwhelming and I’m also able to leave something new to discover for another time.


  4. Jane

    I love museums. I love the costume and furniture exhibits at the Met in NY.

  5. Shelley Munro

    Leah – the textile section of the V & A is great, isn’t it? If you’re ever in Bath, the Costume Museum is amazing. I really enjoyed that, although my visit was a quick one because of time restraints, not the boredom factor.

    I think that these days a lot of museums are aware that children, especially, like to touch and are doing displays to make this possible. Big kids, like me, like to touch as well. Te Papa is great in this respect. They also have a couple of rides – one that’s a way to experience adventure sports by sitting in one seat and also a submarine ride.

    Roberta – yes, I definitely need a display that dovetails with my interests. Otherwise, I have a low boredom threshold!

    Hi Paz – long time, no see :grin: I like The Kiss painting too, although I wouldn’t have known the artist.

    The Monet paintings I saw were on loan from the Boston Fine Arts Museum, hence the large number of guards.

    I haven’t visited any museums in NYC, but I’m sure a friend told me there were some very good ones there??

  6. Shelley Munro

    Hi Jane! You’ve just answered my question about NY museums. :grin:

  7. Catherine Bybee

    Museums are a bit stuffy about the ‘touchy’ thing. I can’t imagine that many would be okay with everyone pressing their fingers over old and priceless art.

  8. Voronda

    i don;t have a favorite but growing up in Blanchard, Louisiana I always dreamed of visiting museums. The summer i graduated from high school I went to New York and visited my first museum I loved it a whole lot. When ever I travel with my sisters and the kids I go to at least one museum.

  9. Fedora

    We haven’t done too many of the no-touching museums yet (doesn’t seem like a great idea with relatively young children)–we have done lots of the hands-on type of science-y ones. Those are fun, even for grown-ups! And I do enjoy museums so I hope we’ll expand to include some of the no-touching ones in a few years! I haven’t been to the local ones in years! (I do have fond memories of my only visit to le Musee d’Orsay in Paris; I missed the Louvre though! Maybe next time!)

  10. Heather

    I haven’t been to one in a while, but I generally like museums. The amount of time I can spend in one generally depends on the type of museum and the exhibits. I esp. love the Musee d’Orsay in Paris (I was so mesmerized by The Starry Night, friends literally had to drag me away), The Art Institute in Chicago, and the Smithsonian enclave in DC.

  11. Shelley Munro

    Heather – yes, it depends on the type of museum. I’d like to visit the Smithsonian.

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