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Museums: Our Keys to History and Culture

Text by: Brittany Knotts

There is, perhaps, nothing I love more than learning about history. Over many centuries, the human race has created beautiful architecture, works of art, music, literature, poetry, jewelry, and so on. And that's just the
tip of the iceberg. Earth has created much beauty of its own — geography, gemstones, animals, plants, fungiā€¦ it's endless. Such beauty is lovely to behold in its native land and natural habitat, but if traveling to Egypt to see the great tombs of pharaohs or back in time to behold Leonardo da Vinci paint the Mona Lisa isn't an option for you (as is the case for most, I expect), there is still hope. Where else could you find these marvelous wonders, contained in a single building, but at a museum?

Museums are all over the place and offer a wide variety of treasures to behold. For the art history buff to the natural history buff, there are museums full of artifacts, masterpieces, and culture in just about every city of the world. New York's famous American Museum of Natural History; the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County; the Prado; the Louvre; The British Museum; The Smithsonian; The Guggenheim — the list could go on forever! Besides the more famous museums, there are also local, smaller-scale museums, some with treasures just as valuable as those you'd see at better-known institutions.

All that being said, some may not have visited museums as frequently as others. Here are some helpful tips for exploring a museum:

  1. Do some light research: It's wonderful to live in a day and age when we have the amazing tool that is the Internet. Get online and get to know your museum a bit before you visit. Most websites offer information on permanent and temporary exhibits as well as pricing, parking, and amenities such as food and children's activities.
  2. Know what you want to see: Either from your research or from the museum's program/guide, prioritize the exhibits, masterpieces, and artifacts you'd like to see. Some museums will have larger collections than others, so it is especially helpful to have this priority list.
  3. Don't get overwhelmed: Some museums have amassed such large collections that patrons may feel pressured to see all of it. The beautiful thing about museums is that there is no limit on how much time you can spend perusing the exhibits or how many times you can visit the same museum. You don't have to see it all. Just remember to find those things that interest you most. Another helpful hint is not to read every piece of information on every plaque.
  4. Enjoy yourself: Last but not least, remember to have a good time! Soak up the new things you learn, the pieces of history you see, and the wholesome entertainment you share with your friends, family, or even by yourself! Take pictures where possible to keep as memories of your visit and to help avoid spending money on souvenirs. You can even bring a pad of paper and pen or pencil to take notes. The day is yours!

So if you find yourself in the mood for an indoor adventure brimming over with knowledge, history, and beauty, a museum in the place for you.