Myy friend Linsey, who works at the NC Museum of Art, recently asked if I would like to be part of a special media preview of the Edvard Munch exhibit at the museum. Though I’m not art aficionado, I do love activities that challenge me in different ways, so I jumped at the chance to get outside my art comfort zone.
My favorite part of the evening was a Pecha Kucha style talk given by Emily Kotecki, who runs the teen and college programs at the museum. Her presentation was about museum fatigue- essentially, when one burns out during a museum visit.
Emily began by asking the audience members to raise their hands if they had ever experienced museum fatigue and, unsurprisingly, most people had and did. My hand shot up pretty darn quickly.
Emily emphasized the three C’s of museum going: comfort, confidence, and choice. The concepts are pretty self-explanatory, but here are the points she emphasized, as well as a few of my own additions:
- Comfort: Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. Don’t go when you’re exhausted. Eat and hydrate ahead of time. Use the bathroom, but know where the museum bathroom is. Don’t bring a heavy purse. Put your cell phone on silent.
- Confidence: Don’t let anyone make you feel insecure or inadequate at a museum. Understand that your interpretation of a piece of art is just as valid as someone else’s interpretation.
- Choice: Take ownership of your museum experience. See the pieces and exhibits you want to see. Skip the ones that don’t interest you, but be willing to push your own boundaries slightly.
One of the deterrents to me visiting museums in the past has been a lack of comfort, choice, and confidence, so Emily’s talk really spoke to me. It was refreshing to hear a museum employee acknowledge that it’s not always a great experience, but there are ways to make it very enjoyable.
Later in the evening, one of our friends said that she goes to museums by herself sometimes. She can take as little or as long as she wants, she doesn’t have to feign interest in things that bore her, and she can duck out quickly if she feels inclined. Sounds like my ideal arrangement! The very few times I’ve seen a movie by myself, I felt liberated- I imagine it might be a similar experience going to a museum alone.
Thank you so much to the NC Museum of Art for the chance to check out the Edvard Munch exhibit! As of yesterday, the exhibit is officially open to the public. You can buy tickets here.
Connect with the museum: