1 (Re) Sharpen our muted senses
After a time of long self-isolation for most of us, it seems we may have to resharpen and reshape our senses. We lived for a while without a lot of external stimuli, as we were confined in our homes. Some of us feel that our sensory antennas have been muted. A museum is certainly a place of countless sensory stimuli that on one hand make us smarter from all that knowledge gain and on the other hand, can also make our senses shout ‘wow’ once again.
2 Artistic awareness and inspiration
‘Museum’ comes from the word muse. The Muses of Greek mythology were nine goddesses, daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, who presided over the arts. Metaphorically speaking, a muse is a personified force (can be a person, an object, a situation) that becomes a source of inspiration for a creative artist. Therefore, accordingly, a museum is a place where we can draw inspiration from artists’ creations, and recharge our batteries. By being exposed to works of art, we grow our own aesthetics and acquire new perspectives. It is a rewarding exercise of sharpening our senses and get our creative fluids flowing again.
3 Learning from the past
There are many different categories of museums: Art museums, historical, archaeological, cultural, religious, and many more. However, they all share a common characteristic: They have something meaningful to say about the past. They are places where history takes flesh and bones and becomes actual people who lived, created, and have stories to narrate; stories that can make us realize even things about ourselves.
4 Rare, mind-blowing exhibitions
Usually, museums have their permanent exhibitions and the periodical ones, sometimes with unique artworks that travel from another country or even from another continent. The opportunity to see an exhibition with rare works of art that you may never have the chance to see again in your lifetime is priceless and the reason many people around the globe visit museums.
5 The architecture of the House
Most museums are housed in impressive buildings that are designed by famous architects in specific styles, representative of the artworks they shelter. Some are very modern state-of-the art and some are old-fashioned but still marvelous. By default, the vast majority of museums are buildings that you would want to examine from up close. Also, most museums have interior design features (ie special lighting effects) that make them even more attractive as sources of aesthetical inspiration.
6 That gift shop and the café with a view
When you visit a museum, you want to take a small part of what you have seen and experienced, home with you. Museum gift shops have it all; expensive and inexpensive, small and large. From art books and jewelry to prints and refrigerator magnets, you can find an all-inclusive art galore. Some gift shops have an online version as well in order not to miss out on the chance to have a replica of your favorite artwork even when you cannot actually visit the museum. And what about the cafés? Some museums have fairly interesting café-restaurants with unique views (they are usually situated on the top floor) and offer light dishes representative of the city or the country cuisine that makes them a must-visit.
7 The perfect shot (for social media)
We are all guilty of the photo-or-it-never-happened rule. We want to share with our internet friends where we have been and what we have seen. Future anthropologists and historians will be able to evaluate the pros and cons of social media, but at the moment a huge benefit is that for example we can share art we cannot reach, and we realized it during the pandemic. We can find photographs of museum artworks from all over the world on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest et al. (However, it is never the same with the hands-on experience, isn’t it? We are humans, after all, and we need to experience something through as many of our senses as possible, not only through a screen).
These are but a few of the rewards that visiting museums and galleries entails. The pandemic still makes us realize many truths we had forgotten, so perhaps the next time you visit Athens, you will not miss out on the fascinating new Museum of Acropolis. Perhaps you will appreciate the whole experience differently; more vividly, more satisfyingly, and certainly more advantageously.