The children and I visit museums frequently. And each and every time before we enter we have the museum etiquette discussion. The children know my speech so well that they can finish my sentences while I am giving it. Sadly though we come in contact with many children and even adults who have not been given the museum etiquette speech and wreak havoc throughout the museum ruining the experience for other patrons and sometimes even the artwork and artifacts. Now don't get me wrong my children are by no means angels and often have to be reminded (sometimes several times) during our visit of proper etiquette.
15 Museum Etiquette Reminders (for children and adults):
- Do not give the statues high fives, climb on them, or hang on them.
- DO NOT TOUCH!!! Unless there is a sign that says "touch me," it's hands off.
- Turn the flash off your camera. Light damages art and artifacts, maybe not right away, but definitely over time. Have you ever noticed how dark museums are?
- Use your inside voice and have quiet discussions. A museum is a place to both learn and reflect so it is definitely okay to have discussions just try to keep the volume down so you don't distract those around you.
- NO running, pushing or shoving. A museum is not a playground. There are priceless artifacts and pieces of artwork that could get damaged if you bump into them.
- Obey rules and stay behind barriers, ropes etc. They are there for a reason!
- Leave book bags and large bags at home or in the car. I am guilty of this one. Over the last couple of years I have noticed that many museums are implementing a no book bag or large bag bag policy. Turns out that people have been bumping into artifacts and artwork with their bags and causing damage. We always take educational books and other activities to enhance the learning experience so I now keep a small reusable shopping bag in the car just for our museum visits.
- No eating, drinking or chewing gum! If you must have a snack or drink step outside.
- Do not block the exhibit or information plaque. Take a step back so everyone can see.
- Pick up after yourself. Do not leave trash laying around.
- Keep hands off the walls and glass. As I tell my children, "someone has to clean off all those hand prints, lets try to help them out a little bit."
- When you point out the details on a piece, stay far enough away that you do not make contact with the piece itself. The oils from your fingers will cause damage. The two foot rule works well for our family.
- If you or a child is bored or being disruptive remove yourself from the museum.
- Show docents, guards and other employees respect. Most docents are volunteers who are there to share their passion with visitors.
- Be respectful of the culture(s) being represented. Learn about the culture rather than ridiculing it.
Check back tomorrow for 8 ways to keep children engaged at a museum!