Over the summer, families flock to cities, amusement parks, landmarks and, of course, museums to take in sights that they otherwise could not see at home.
What many people seem to forget when they visit these places, specifically museums, are their manners.
Museums often have signage for a reason: please be quiet, don’t touch the artwork and no flash photography. There are reasons for all of these items and they should have equal attention. The reason for most of the rules at a museum is so that other people may enjoy the artwork for many years to come.
One of the worst places to find rule breakers is the Louvre . This may sound odd, considering the reputation of the institution. I speak from first-hand experience: I saw more people touching relics that are not only hundreds of years old, but thousands.
What many might not know is that the oil, dirt and other gross things lingering on the hands of kids and adults is that it makes the disintegrating process of the relics speed up. People may think, “Once won’t hurt anything, right?” Wrong. There are thousands of people moving through the museum in a day and within those thousands probably hundreds think the same thing.
While you may think the picture of your kids climbing on a sphinx is going to look good when you show the family back at home, think of all the people that would just like to look at the sculpture years down the road. Inconsiderate touchers are making preservationists’ jobs harder, costing museums more money in preservation work then they already spend and ultimately just making all genuine art enthusiasts angry.
Another point that makes preservationists angry is the use of flash photography. Yes, one flash really doesn’t do that much, but one flash from one person who forgot to turn it off, or just doesn’t care every hour or so, everyday for years: does some major damage. The paint in paintings in most museums is aging and light exposure causes cracks.
Turn your flash off before you go into a museum, it hurts amazing works of art and is just annoying, period. Museums have great light in them already so you can see the artwork. I would recommend actually looking at the painting as well, instead of just snapping a photo. That’s why people go to museums right? To see works of art.
My final issue with the museum-goers are the talkers. I like to discuss art as much as the next person, but do it quietly. Some people like to enjoy the artwork without screaming children, the mom yelling to her kids to get back to the meeting point or families arguing. Museums are places of education, so treat it like a library.
Silence your cell phones and try and make the viewing process as you would like it. If you are listening to an audio tour, great, but try and keep the volume to where only you can hear it and watch where you’re going. I could use both hands in counting how many times people almost ran me over while listening to their audio tour guides.
Museums are amazing places to learn about just as amazing works of art, sciences and anything else you could think of. What is not amazing is the way people treat other people and the spaces made to be shared. Respect people and respect art and everything will turn out OK.Contact Myrriah Gossett.