May 2, 2007

Museums are the Best When You Visit Them Alone

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:06 pm by classicalmusic

One of the things I love most about museums is that you can visit them alone. As a kind of anti-social person, there are very few activities I don’t prefer doing alone; I pretty much can’t stand doing anything in groups. This means that I’ll shop alone and exercise alone and it makes sense that I prefer going to museums alone. It’s been a long time since anyone’s said to me “Hey, do you want to go to a museum today?” so I haven’t had to turn anyone down, but since my husband doesn’t like museums and my kids haven’t taken to them either, whenever I have gotten to a museum in the last few years, it’s been on my own.

Walking around a museum on your own means doing it completely at your own pace, which is how I like doing everything. Museum goers fall into two categories – the ones who rush through like there’s a prize at the end, and the ones who have to read every word and stare at every exhibit endlessly. I don’t fall into either group and so just the idea of being with either of those two museum types gets on my nerves. If I’m in a museum, I usually feel like I’m floating, from room to room and from painting to painting. Occasionally, I’ll stop and stare at a particular work that really grabs my attention and every now and then I’ll read the short bio of the painter. But rarely will I use the headphones for a guided tour and even more rarely will I listen to a live guide “tell all.” The feeling of being alone with the painters, even when there are other people milling about, is special and unique; I can only compare it to reading in a library and becoming completely absorbed in a book even though there are other people right next to you. For me, it’s heaven.

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1 Comment »

  1. Susan said,

    The Guggenheim.
    A traditional art museum has many, many rooms. It is easy to lose track of where you are or where you’re going, even if you bring a compass. It is easy to lose your companions, too, unless you go alone. And it is easy to become so absorbed in directional concerns and anxieties that you forget there is priceless, if not gorgeous, art on the walls.
    That’s why I like the Guggenhim in New York City. You ride up to the top of the building in an elevator, then you just follow the spiral ramp that goes back down. The art is hung on the walls and in various nooks and crannies along the way, so you don’t have to worry about where you are. You just keep walking. And if the exhibit on display that month happens to be really awful (which sometimes happens),then you can enjoy the beauty of the building itself. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
    New York City has its positive and negative traits, but (if you don’t live there)it’s worth going once, anyway, just to visit the Guggenheim.


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