We've been to a fair number of museums in our wanderings, and I thought I'd toss out a few tips for getting some extra mileage out of a couple hours in these halls of higher learning. Feel free to chime in with your own!
1. Set expectations low. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, when our kids are old and gray, swaddled in their crocheted afghans, they'll reminisce about how their parents always told them they were going to visit the Antique Teapot Museum. Substitute Antique Thimble Museum, or Moldy Beef Jerky Museum if you wish. Won't the real thing ALWAYS be better?
2. Surf the web beforehand for images from the museum's collection. Whether it's works of art or special exhibits, you're bound to find a few eye-catching photos to print out and let them peruse before entering the museum. Then, have them see how many actual pieces they can find in the museum to match those images. Basically, folks, we're talking about a visual scavenger hunt. And which paintings, sculptures, or arthropodic wonders do you think they'll remember most?
3. Talk about museum manners before you go in. Is this place no-touch, low-touch, or hands-on? And for sure, one can avoid running or shouting in the halls. Furthermore, what will be their budget, if any, in that sticky morass known as the Museum Gift Shop?
4. Leave early. Yes, you may want to see one more Monet, or watch one more historical newsreel, but 'tis a far, far better thing to quit at the first sign of ants in the pants, while the kids still think this museum pretty much rocks.
5. On the way home, play Three Truths and a Lie. See how much everyone remembers -- including yourself! Here's an example from last week's jaunt to one of our city's hidden gems, the George Washington Carver Museum. Anyone spot the lie?
- George Washington Carver came up with over three hundred uses for peanuts.
- George Washington Carver never lived in Austin.
- Juneteenth is the celebration of slaves in Texas receiving their freedom.
- Juneteenth is observed on June 16th.