How to Navigate a Museum

When we were planning our trip to Paris more than a decade ago, I knew we wanted to go to the Louvre. (Duh.) We’d read that the Louvre was (ahem) large, too much to see in one trip. (Like, if you want to see the whole thing, plan to spend a week inside, no kidding.)

We were also told—and this was excellent advice—to pick something specific that you want to see, and, rather than wandering aimlessly (as one tends to do in a smaller museum), go see that thing. So we did. I love the Dutch masters, and that is the floor we headed to.

The Astronomer, Johannes Vermeer, 1668

We didn’t have a week, you see.

You probably won’t either, so I’m delighted to be able to pass along this excellent article from the New York Times: “How to Navigate a Museum.” Here are the tips:

  • Set a time limit
  • Eat before you go
  • Focus on something specific
  • Spend time on the works that most interest you
  • Use audio tours
  • Consider a private guide

There’s lots more here, of course, so read the whole article. And if I could add just one more thing, I’d say this: It isn’t a forced march, those of you who aren’t museum fans. I know I’ve talked a lot about accommodating the tastes of your traveling companion, and today, well, it’s your time to do that for a couple hours. If you’re more outdoorsy, go find the landscapes. Relax. Be a good sport. You won’t regret this. 🙂

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2 thoughts on “How to Navigate a Museum

  1. We did some strategic planning when we visited the Louvre in 1998 with 4 kids (ages 10-16) (what were we thinking?!)
    Egyptians exhibit – no, we’d just seen an excellent exhibit at the British Museum
    Furniture – no (obviously)
    Dutch Masters – no, too dark & dreary (sorry!)
    Impressionists – just a few, going to the Orsay later
    Sculpture & Rennaisance – yes, famous pieces, easy to appreciate

    Worked out great!

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