Museums are great places to have around and visit in order for people to appreciate art, history, science, innovation, etc. Museums are places where you can explore and learn about the past, present, and the future. Every museum has its own sets of rules, oftentimes you see them on the brochures or pamphlets, and some are posted by the entrance where every visitor could see. Aside from that, there are museum representatives and guides that would announce the sets of rules before proceeding to let you in.
In this article the common museum etiquette that is being implemented in almost every museum that carries historic artifacts, collections of art pieces, and rare items on display will be discussed.
Museum Etiquette #1: Eating and Drinking
When you go to a museum, you will be asked not to bring any food and/or drink. It is best that you schedule a museum visit after you already had a meal, this way you do not have to worry about getting hungry. Occasionally, they will allow you to chew on a gum or a small candy, if they do allow kindly make sure that you do not blow your bubble gum close to the art pieces. Ask permission first if they will let you do these, there are certain museums, for fear of any candy droppings or possible accidents with bubble gum mess that would not even allow you to have these so it is always better to ask for permission first.
Museum Etiquette #2: Smoking
Smoking is not allowed inside the museum. If you must have a smoke, do it outside of the building. Smoking is generally not allowed inside public establishments in the United States, not only in museums because of health hazards. In museums however, it is not only the health hazards that are being considered when banning smoking, whether here in the United States or abroad smoking in museums is banned because of the effect of smoke on the museum pieces. Smoke deposits can damage museum pieces, especially paintings and other rare artifacts.
Museum Etiquette #3: Photography and Video
Most museums do not permit photographs or videos be taken of the permanent collection or changing exhibitions. Sometimes, permissions can be obtained ahead of time from the Curator for any photography or video recording. Use of flash photography can also sometimes damage rare paintings so it is not allowed inside the museum.
Museum Etiquette #4: Sketching
Visitors are may be allowed to sketch in some museums. But the museum will dictate what can or cannot be used- like the type of pencils and sizes of drawing pads to use. Most museums may only allow the use of graphite pencils and drawing pads no larger than 36 × 36 inches. Pastels, crayons, ink paint, tape measures, and easels are not permitted in most museums displaying paintings or artwork. Also it is wise to sit at least two feet from an artwork while sketching or writing so as not to obstruct the view of other visitors.
Museum Etiquette #5: Touching
In order to preserve the collections that are on display, visitors are cautioned not to touch works of art, pedestals, frames or cases. Most museums, especially works of art, are for people’s eyes only; they can get damaged from oils that are found on our hands or skins.
Museum Etiquette #6: Running, Pushing, Shoving, Dancing
Running, pushing, shoving, dancing, or other physical acts that may endanger works of art are prohibited. This is sometimes the reasons why it is best to watch children closely when visiting a museum for they tend to be playful. Sometimes, at a young age, they do not enjoy being in a museum so avoid taking them if they will not benefit from it yet.
Museum Etiquette #7: Noise
Avoid making loud noises by talking or laughing loudly, singing, humming, loudly, whistling, etc. In some cases, you will find people getting escorted out because they are rowdy and rambunctious. No music aloud, you may be allowed to use your iPod but please do not get carried away and sing along. Try to use your “indoor voices” when visiting a museum. Some museums are really implementing the kind of library atmosphere, for people to study and observe the museum pieces quietly. Some museums, however, do have guides and curators that would speak and talk about the details of the pieces on display; if that is the case, make sure to listen intently and do not interrupt, raise your hands if you have questions to ask.
Museum Etiquette #8: Pets
This is practically common sense, but some people do tend to forget this rule. Whether you treat your pets like your child or as a fashion accessory, whether big or small, pets are definitely not allowed inside the art museums.
There are other rules and regulations that are specific to each museum aside for those mentioned above. Museums reserve the rights to refuse visitors if they are found not adhering to these rules. Following proper museum etiquette helps ensure that all visitors can enjoy, benefit, and have a meaningful experience while viewing the various displays at the museums.