12 Tips for Getting the Most Out of a Museum Trip

The true wonder of a museum is that it is more than just an exhibit. It’s about the experience, which can be shared with other people and families. Here are 12 tips to make your next trip at one of these places extra special.

The “museum rules and regulations” is a guide that provides 12 tips for getting the most out of a museum trip. The article provides information about what to bring, how to behave in the museum, and more.

Vintage people looking at open hallway in museum.

It’s easy to be intimidated by museums. They frequently have the somber sense of a church or library, where you don’t want to be punished for talking too loudly or touching anything you shouldn’t be touching. They’re also typically pricey and extensive, with so many interesting things to see and learn about that you don’t want to miss anything or not get your money’s value, so you stroll about until you’re exhausted.

Museums, on the other hand, should be an experience that everyone enjoys and anticipates. These are the main repositories of human knowledge and the natural world. Museums house the concrete things of history and science, while libraries house ideas. They’re one of the few venues where you can go for the sole goal of doing hands-on learning and immersing yourself in the topic. So, how can you get the most of a museum without being overwhelmed?

I spoke to Emilee Richardson of the Science Center of Iowa on how to get the most out of your next visit. You may reduce your feelings of fear and instead take full advantage of what these outstanding institutions of learning have to offer by following the guidelines below. 

Making Advance Arrangements

When it comes to visiting a museum, preparation is significantly more vital than it may seem. Sure, you may simply come there, pay tickets, roam around, and have a good time, but you won’t be getting the most out of your visit. To make sure you’ve planned the finest vacation possible, follow the advice below.

1. Purchase tickets in advance online. Most big, urban museums allow you to purchase tickets online before leaving the comfort of your own home. You’ll save yourself the trouble of standing in potentially lengthy lineups. You’ll also escape price shock: with general admission, the IMAX theater, and sometimes-expensive special exhibitions, you may be looking at a bill of $25 or more per person before food and souvenirs are included in. When you see it online during your research period, it’s a bit easier to stomach than when you come to the museum and have only budgeted $10. Be aware that purchasing tickets online may entail a processing charge of a few dollars; either factor this into your budget or prepare for some probable museum wait time.

2. Be aware of the days when you may get anything for free or at a reduced price. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a museum visit, look into community free days. Most big museums (including well-known ones like the Guggenheim and the American Museum of Natural History) provide free, heavily reduced, or “pay what you want” days. They’re usually on weekdays or after 5 or 6 p.m., so they’re definitely not peak hours (though in some cases they are in fact on weekends).

For underprivileged students, families with big families, and everyone who values a good deal, these free/discounted days are a wonderful offer. But it also means that they’re usually crammed with people. If you value a little peace and quiet above a few dollars, you may want to look up when a museum has free days so you know when not to attend.


Vintage couple looking at fish skeleton in museum.

3. If at all possible, avoid the busiest hours. Weekends will undoubtedly be the busiest period for families visiting the museum. That’s fantastic if it’s you. Get out there and blast through the throng with your lovely stroller. If you’re going on a date or traveling alone, you’ll probably want to avoid the free days stated above and instead go on a weekday.

4. Attend adult-only events and evenings. When our family resided in Iowa, Mixology Night was held once a month at the Science Center of Iowa. 21+ guests may obtain cheap entry, get a beverage, and listen to some songs on the first Friday of the month for a few hours at night, all while enjoying some unique drunken programming around adult-themed scientific issues (like hangovers and the brewing process).

Every third Thursday of the month, the Museum of Nature and Science in Denver hosts The Science Lounge. “Entertainment, Mind-Bending Science, Cocktails,” says the slogan. Doesn’t seem to be that horrible, does it?

These are only two examples of adult-themed events that many museums are hosting in order to attract a younger audience and create a more enjoyable environment. This is a terrific opportunity to meet like-minded learners if you’re single, and it makes for a fun and stimulating date night if you’re married.

5. Make a list of all the details you can think of. Most museums, even smaller ones, have websites that may assist you in planning your visit to the smallest detail. You’ll learn about admission pricing (even if you can’t purchase them online), unique exhibitions now on display, upcoming events and programs, and, most importantly, parking suggestions and directions, in my view. While some of the larger institutions have their own parking lots and garages, most urban and smaller museums depend on street parking. You don’t want to waste a half-hour driving about looking for the ideal sites because you didn’t read the webpage first. The more you know ahead of time, the less surprises you’ll encounter when you arrive.

While visiting the museum,

While most of your work has already been completed, there are certain things you can do while you’re at the museum to ensure that your visit is as enjoyable as possible.

6. Leave your phone at home, and depending on the institution, refrain from taking photographs. During your visit, you should turn off your phone and keep it in your pocket. It may be quite enticing to snap images and even utilize them for educational reasons, such as researching background information. However, doing so unavoidably detracts from the museum experience. Instead, carry a small notepad with you and jot down any questions you have or subjects you wish to learn more about so you can research them later. You may also draw sketches of exhibits or museum objects that really appeal to you. While texting is OK in moderation (particularly if you’re with a group and split up), it’s better to leave your phone at home throughout your stay.


7. Think about going on a guided tour, participating in a program, or taking a class. This is part of preparing ahead, but instead of going with your whims and fancies, try seeking some expert help when you’re at the museum. Patrons may take advantage of daily tours, activities, movies, and courses at museums all around the world. Sometimes they are more expensive, and sometimes they are not. Your trips are sometimes personally conducted, and other times they are only audio. In any case, it adds to the whole experience and guarantees that you get the most bang for your money. When you roam about on your own, you’re probably losing out on a lot of the context and story that tours give. You can catch the essence of an exhibit on your own, but having someone narrate for you will help you comprehend the broader picture. Your whole day does not have to be led, but at least one unique tour or program should be included.

8. If you’re curious, ask a lot of questions. Those questions you’ve been meaning to look up? Ask some genuine folks! The museum’s personnel and volunteers enjoy nothing more than answering inquiries and demonstrating their expertise in their chosen field. Rather of depending simply on signage and your favorite search engine, hire an expert.

Another advantage of questioning the staff is the possibility of receiving personal demonstrations and/or tiny personal tours. This, according to Ms. Richardson, is one of the things that museum visitors do not take advantage of nearly enough. Museum employees are ready to educate and share their knowledge with visitors; assist them in doing what they like!

Vintage old couple napping in art museum.

There is such a thing as “museum tiredness.” Keep your trips to a minimum to avoid this.

9. Don’t plan on staying all day. Do you ever get that sensation after spending a couple of hours in a museum? Your legs begin to fatigue, your mind begins to blur, and you begin to skim through exhibits rather than completely absorb them. There’s a term for this all-too-common occurrence: museum tiredness. And, believe it or not, some study has been done on it.

Researchers realized as early as the 1910s and 1920s that as the duration of a museum visit rose, so did visitor involvement and attention. “After a little initial endeavor, he [the visitor] will surrender himself to viewing nearly everything poorly and by a fleeting look,” wrote one researcher in 1916. So, after being gung-ho about one or two exhibits at first, you’ll simply glide through without learning anything. This impact has been observed to occur after just 30 minutes of museum visitation.

While your temptation may be to maximize the value of your entry price by staying as long as possible, it is in your best interest to remain for no more than a couple hours, if not even fewer. Not only will you remain fresh, but you will most likely not be able to see the full museum and will be eager to return. That’s a lot better than not wanting to come back because you were on your feet for 8 hours and couldn’t remember anything you learned or experienced.


If you’re visiting a museum on vacation in a city you’re unlikely to see again, make a list of the exhibits you must see before you go. Starting with the ones you’re most interested in can help to alleviate FOMO and guarantee that you don’t overextend your stay to the point of exhausting your body and dulling your memory.

Consider purchasing a membership if you reside in the same city as the museum. Most establishments offer annual memberships that pay for themselves after only a few visits. Instead of attempting to see everything in a single day, you may go numerous times for even just an hour at a time and truly get a feel for the museum over the course of months or even years.

Make the visit dynamic and multi-format as much as feasible. With this in mind, you’ll want to break up the monotony of merely wandering around displays passively. Sure, certain artwork and antiquities will always be off bounds, but museums have grown much better at making displays interactive, so make sure to engage in activities and audio tours. Touch what you can, read the placards (they’re frequently full of intriguing and unexpected information), listen to the guides and movies, and so on (but don’t eat the dinosaur bones).

Following the Visit  

When your brain has been pushed to its limit and you’re ready to go, there are a few more suggestions to make sure your museum experience lasts long after you’ve left.

11. Purchase something from the gift shop to help you remember your stay and/or further your education. While you’ve already spent money on entry (unless it’s a free day!) and maybe a dinner, a trip to the gift shop is always entertaining for both adults and children. Adult souvenirs have become much more diverse in recent years. You’re guaranteed to discover something you’ll appreciate that isn’t just another chintzy item, from history and scientific books to models and 3D puzzles (if you need a new hobby! ), and masculine décor like busts and TR bobbleheads. A model on your mantle will remind you of your museum visit(s), and a book on the subject of your favorite exhibit will expand on what you learned.

Of course, purchasing anything benefits the museum as well. Most are non-profits, and any contribution you can make will help them not only remain open, but also recruit and create new and fascinating exhibitions for visitors.

Even if you don’t purchase anything, it’s still entertaining to browse around.

Vintage man with daughter looking at dinosaur skeleton in museum.

12. Carry on the conversation at home. Going to a museum is all about learning new things and broadening your horizons. It’s possible that your museum visit will be for nought if you leave after walking out the doors. If, on the other hand, you ponder on your visit and discuss it with others, you’ll have had a lot more rewarding experience. I can recall several debates about humans’ position in the universe sparked by dinosaur exhibitions; discussions about what life may have been like in ancient Rome sparked by a Pompeii show; and who can forget the Body Worlds touring exhibit, which always sparks discussion.


Discuss which artifacts piqued your interest, which paintings drew you in, ask each other about unanswered questions from a particular exhibit, heck, even evaluate your career if you’re in a job you despise and reflect on which exhibits you gravitated to the most and what that says about your true interests if you’re in a job you despise. It would be a shame to let a museum pass you by after you go home since there is so much to learn. Make a conscious effort to lengthen the experience and mentally prepare for your next visit!



The “5 things you can see in the museum” is a list of 12 tips for getting the most out of a museum trip.

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