After spending two weeks straight in this old Victorian, it's fair to say that I'm suffering more than a little bit of cabin fever. For once, Erie has escaped most of the bad weather that has played havoc with the rest of the country. So I'm thinking that this weekend is a perfect time to get out....welllll.... what is consider "out" during a pandemic. Unfortunately, my state can't seem to get it's act together and very few people are vaccinated, so most restrictions are still in place.
Despite that, the museums are open for business. It's amazing how a little bit of culture goes a long way. Without our monthly doses of arts this past year, I've felt VERY stagnate and stale. So it's definitely time to take a ride to town and get a hit of inspiration.
Where to begin after such a drought....
Art Museum Trip Tips
- Plan! Don't be afraid to take a ride a few hours away from home to visit a museum. Check out the museum's website. Most will have tabs that say VISIT. All the particulars will be there...Hours...Parking...Fees/Admission. This year you'll have to add special Covid Policies to the list to research which will probably include reservation on a time to visit. Read through the rules of the museum. What are you allowed to bring with you. What are the photography policies. What are the hours of the museum shop and is the restaurant open. The more you plan, the better you'll feel prepared to enjoy your day.
- Exhibits! Next, I check the calendar of the museum to see what special exhibits are showing and what galleries are open. Nothing is worse than finding out that you just missed something you were dying to see or that major galleries are closed due to renovations. I'll read through the description of the exhibits and do a little background research so I don't go into it totally ignorant.
- Visit! Wear comfortable shoes, be well rested and wear layers. Grab a map on the way in and make sure you mark the galleries you CAN'T miss.
- Focus! This is something I started doing about 10 years ago. When I go into an art museum, I'll pick something to focus on. It might be that I'm looking for inspiration for my next piece. It might be I'm looking for subject matter for a new series on my blog. It might be that I want to concentrate on how the artist used light/shadows. Or we play find the focal point where we go through and find the focal point in each piece. If this is all too much for you, take a guided tour. Some are actually guided (like the one I took at the National Gallery...OMGosh! it was good!) and some are self guided where you download the app (of course you do!) . Most museums have mp3 players now that have tours on them as well. This all adds up to...don't just wander around the museum saying, "Oh look at all the pretty pictures"
- Digest! My husband and I have a habit of going to a museum when it opens and finishing in time for an early dinner. We'll have the restaurant all picked out. That way we can sit over our meal and talk about what we saw. Normally, we are still chatting on the drive home and as we tumble into bed. It leads to some really great conversations. Also, I always make sure I buy something at the museum store that will help educate me further (not to mention help support the museum). You want your visit to feed your creativity.
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I also like the Cleveland Museum as I live close enough I can pop in and revisit my favorite works. I've enjoyed the Toledo (Ohio) art museum and its huge collection of netsukes, but for sheer wow I nominate the Corning Museum of Glass. My husband and I still talk about the special Tiffany exhibit we saw there.
The museum I visit the most is the MFA (Museum of Fine Arts) in Boston. We are members. Just like you I select different galleries, special exhibits or even pieces to see. Another favorite is the ICA (The Institute of Contemporary Art) in Boston. I go there not just for the exhibits, but the architecture and the amazing view of the harbor.
We live one hour outside of Boston via commuter train. Pre pandemic we would combine a morning visit to a museum, lunch and matinee every other month or so. One hidden gem we discovered is the Boston Public Library gives tours of their architecture and art. Awesome tour.
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