It’s okay to pass on the famous if the famous does nothing for you at all. This very much includes museums and art galleries. If you or your partner have little love for a particular art form, then don’t spend three hours dutifully gazing at that art form. if you know nothing about art, maybe a quick perusal will do you good, but make it quick, 45 minutes tops. Cruise through, note the styles, pay attention to what you do and do not like. Out.
Once you know what you like – only pay admission to view collections that make your heart sing.
So, in a city filled with Renaissance art, the only museum that interested me was the Peggy Guggenheim museum. My husband, after a lot of art education and five hours in the Vatican museum (a long, long, time ago), has determined that he is not much of a painting/ sculpture kind of guy. So I paid my admission while he wandered around Venice and subsequently discovered the sculpture of a boy holding a frog, a seriously must see in Venice because there is a full time guard who’s job is to keep tourists from touching the frog. Andrew took me to see it later.
We do this at every museum. I have the membership to the De Young, the local art museum. He does not. I go in, he reads a book.
But what if the museum is unavoidable? Like, there is nothing else around the museum except desert and/or barbed wire? (nope, not kidding – Cambodia has a few museums that are protected like that).
Let’s say you have no choice but to shuffle through a famous museum or cathedral or in the case of Cambodia, the museum of torture equipment. Your guide is interesting and informative, must be because every one else in the group is raptly following her every utterance. You however, are about to fall into a standing coma.
Here’s what to do.
Fall back to the very outside perimeters of the group.
Linger a bit before a case of something, doesn’t matter, you’re looking at the group not at the dozen or so pottery shards on display for some reason.
Wait for the group to shuffle to the next room.
Now is the time to check your watch, looked a bit stressed and hunt out the rest room.
Use it, you never know where you’ll find another.
Now you are free.
Pretend you cannot for the life of you find where the tour went.
Take a left when you know perfectly well the tour was more or less heading in a clockwise direction around the museum. Make note of a few items for the later quiz.
If your are female, hunt down the gift store – the most popular and important items will be featured on post cards, that will help if someone accuses you of not paying attention.
If you are male, escape to either the courtyard, or right outside the entrance. Play games on your phone until someone stops you.
For both male and female escapees, try to look stressed over the fact that you missed such a lovely lecture.
The other way to approach a museum to claim that you must see something specific, and you’ll just run ahead and go see it because you don’t want to inconvenience the rest of the group (family) by taking too long lingered over said object or painting. Find the object, surreptitiously take a photo of both the object and the description of the object (for later reference during the inevitable quiz during dinner) and then happily wander outside to play Angry Birds.