Museum Etiquette: A Friendly Guide To Being A Responsible Museum-goer

With the growing number of museums throughout the country, there has been a growing market for gallery and museum-goers. The National Museum of Natural History that opened on International Museum Day 2018, for instance, received almost 4,000 people on that same day. The inside of the museum was immaculate upon opening, and people adored every pieces on exhibit. But not very long enough, the museum-goers started crowding in and lingering for too long on some pieces, and there have been litter in some areas—imagine the horror.

Surely, the museum staff asked the visitors to observe a little something called “museum etiquette.” But ICYMI and didn’t hear them, we’re giving you this friendly guide to being a responsible museum-goer.

1 | Dress Accordingly

So far, there has been no strict dress codes in our museums, but as a sign of respect to the institution and the people you will be sharing the space with, you must keep yourself presentable. Also, wear clothes and footwear that are comfortable and keep you cool or warm enough. Some museums tend to be too cold or gets warm after a lot of walking, so dressing accordingly will help you enjoy your museum visit.

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2 | Keep Your Bags Small Or At The Front Desk

Bags are allowed inside museums, but only if they’re smaller than a camera bag. If you’re bringing anything bigger, you may leave your bags at the front desk or the baggage counter. Make sure you bring your wallet, phone, and other valuables with you in your pockets. Leave your food and drinks as well, best to eat after museum-hopping.

3 | Don’t Take Pictures Or Videos

While there are museums or parts of museums that don’t allow either photography or videography, there are others that do. This varies depending on the protocol or guidelines of the museum you visit, though. One reason that taking photos or videos aren’t allowed is copyright infringement. But if they do allow you to take pictures, never use flash because it is harmful to the art pieces and other artifacts. Notice how some galleries are purposely dimmed because light tends to be harsh on the pieces on display.

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4 | Stay Outside The Ropes Or Lines

Ropes and lines are drawn around the exhibits for a reason. The value of the pieces cost more than you could ever imagine, so be mindful of the distance between you and the artworks or artifacts you’re ogling at. Besides, if you’re too close to the display, it’s highly likely that you’re blocking everyone else’s view of it. Respect other people who also wants to view the exhibit. Do not enter prohibited areas as well, whether the doors are opened or closed, unless it’s stated otherwise.

5 |  You Can Look But You Can’t Touch

Unless you’re visiting an interactive museum or the exhibit requires it, touching the displays is a mortal sin. We’ve seen several instances that people touch the displays because they think one light touch won’t cause any harm. But think about this: If every single visitor gave one light touch to one art piece during the opening of the National Museum of Natural History, that’s almost 4,000 fingerprints on a fine art piece! If the artwork is to be displayed there for 10 years, imagine what it would look like by then!

6 | You Can Neither Run Nor Stay Put

Museums might be spacious and there’s plenty of room to run around, but running or simply playing around is strictly prohibited. It’s not because the administrators are such kill-joys; they’re just protecting the displays. But, you can’t stay put for too long either. Lingering in one area limits your museum experience, and others’ as well. Explore the other galleries first then go back to your favorite piece. This way, you’ll be able to discover more pieces that you might like. This also applies to taking portraits with the exhibits—don’t take too much time taking them. You’re not in a photo shoot for your next profile picture.

7 | Wacky Is A No-no

You read it right, wacky poses are forbidden, especially in big museums, like the National Museum. This is to pay respect to the artists, the subjects of the artists, as well as the story behind them. Common sense, right?

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8 | Keep your voice low

Conversations in the galleries are allowed and actually encouraged, especially when you’re discussing about the works or artifacts on display. Just remember that you’re not the only ones who are visiting the museum, don’t be too loud as to disturb the other viewers. Taking phone calls inside the museum is also a no-no, and so is voicing out loud your distaste or negative opinions (better to keep it to yourself or talk about it when you get home).

9 | Bring And Take Nothing… But Positivity and Your Things

Bring in positive vibes, not litter or personal issues. You won’t truly enjoy your visit to the museum if you don’t have a positive outlook, you’ll only see the “ugly,” or worse, make your fellow museum-goers feel bad. Leave no litter as well to preserve the cleanliness of the spaces. Leave with nothing else but your things and good memories—no stolen piece of artifact, please!

10 | Go On Social Media Later

Museums and galleries appreciate your sharing on social media; that’s free advertising for them. But, doing it while you’re in front of the artwork is disrespectful of other viewers. If you want to share your favorite piece of artifact on social, do it when you’re sitting at the designated seating area or away from the piece. You wouldn’t want to block everyone’s view while you think of a catchy caption for your photo, would you?

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