Thomas Hoving (the former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art who now enjoys a career as a prolific writer) offers some fantastic advice for ways to make a museum visit a delight in one of his recent books. A tip that really struck me as being both useful and fun involves something that many of us take for granted - a simple postcard. Hoving recommends making a quick stop to the postcard shop a first priority upon arriving at a museum. In this way, a visitor can almost instantly assess the museum's collection and decide what to view. Perhaps more important, however, is Hoving's next revelation. A visitor can select and purchase the postcards that feature interesting works of art and use these cards to navigate the museum. How, you ask? Here are some thoughts from Thomas Hoving:
"I buy what I want to see in the galleries - I always find several works that I had no idea were there. Postcards are cheaper and are a whole lot easier to lug around than three-pound guidebooks...I proceed to the entrance, flash the card, of the painting I want to see, and the guard motions me to it. I never get lost, or feel trapped, or silly. When I lose my way, I simply flash another postcard at a guard deep in the bowels of the museum and get further directions quickly. I also obtain solid information, for invariably the description of the work is crisper on postcards than the labels or catalogs and is in English to boot."
Page 2 - More Tips for Visiting Art Museums
The Art Book
This beautiful book is sure to enhance any art lover's library. It features a collection of art masterpieces, presented in a format that emphasizes the selected works of painting and sculpture. Stunning color images grace the pages, and every picture is accompanied by a concise description of each featured work and artist.