You don't have to be an expert in art or a super history buff to enjoy going to galleries (or museums). I love going to see art and historical objects but I’m no expert. I like what I like. Sometimes I know why and sometimes I don’t.
Without meaning to, I once went to five galleries/museums in a day and thoroughly enjoyed it! Just back from a trip where I really did try and soak up as much art and history as possible, I wanted to share some of my tips for planning a day or even a few hours of gallery-hopping.
- My most important tip is to seek out something that interests you. Don’t just go to the big exhibit that’s hyped and because everyone else is going to if the subject matter isn’t your cup of tea. Sometimes you will find some absolute gems that really appeal to your eye or curiosity with a bit of research. For me it’s The Wallace Collection in London. It's got a bit of everything.
- Once you’ve selected where you want to go, do a bit of research on the practical side of things but not so much that you spoil the wonder. This include checking days the museum are closed (I’ve been caught out before), whether they offer the last hour of the day free, as you may only really want see one or two things they have and this may suit your needs.
- Check if you can buy tickets online to save money or at least save some of the queuing time.
- Wear comfy shoes and don’t have a lot of 'stuff' with you. These days with all of the security measures in place, it slows you down particularly if you are diverted off to a cloak room to deposit umbrellas and oversized bags.
- You may not always be able to do this but avoid the opening and closing weeks of an exhibit particularly if it’s likely to be popular. This goes for weekends or ‘free entry’ days.
- For popular exhibits, get to the gallery before it opens and wait in line, may be 30 minutes or so, even if you already have a ticket. If you are in the doors first, you will get to see most of the exhibit without much of a crowd standing in front of you (as some of them will have been diverted to the cloak room!)
- If there is a must see piece that you really want to enjoy, head to that straight up. You can always work your way back through the rest of the exhibit after you’ve seen what you really wanted to see.
- Last tip, if the gallery or museum you go to is free to enter, they might have a box to leave a small donation, every little bit helps to keep these amazing places alive.