Visiting Museums, Discovering Art, and Exploring Culture Around the World
I've got SUCH a fun resource to share with you today! Danee Gilmartin is the creator of Museum Chick: Visiting Museums, Discovering Art and Exploring Culture Around the World. As lovers of learning - and art - museums are just our thing. Whenever we travel, we usually hit the art museums first. So I was elated when I found Danee's site - and promptly dug in and spent HOURS exploring. You'll find at least a handful of museum trips you NEED TO TAKE NOW when you explore her site, I promise. I showed our 7-year old daughter, Lillie, her site and now it is bookmarked on her computer, as well. She loves the art coloring pages, as well as the articles on both France (she loves Paris) and Egypt (she loves Egypt), including the Lego Tut. The photos are incredible, as well as the tips! THIS is one incredible resource.
We were lucky enough to sit down and talk with Danee about her site, top museum tips, and more. Here's what she had to say...
WE: Please tell us about your site, MuseumChick...
DG: MuseumChick is a blog I created to tell my stories and share my pictures of travels to museums, cultural institutions and festivals around the world in order to share what I have seen. I have always found museums to be interesting places to explore and learn, and when discovering new knowledge on my travels, I wanted to share it. When writing posts, I incorporate my travel stories and personal experiences with art and culture education.
I also write about art that I spot in unconventional or unexpected places around the world, like street art and art made out of food, in a series of playful posts called A*RT!? Happens.
In addition to museums and art talk, I also share many of my favorite travel photos from 25 countries (and counting) that I have visited. You can also find my newest section, MuseumKid, where parents can download free printable art education coloring pages and read my stories and tips about visiting kid friendly museums.
Viewing art in the Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris
WE: What was the genesis of your site?
DG: Moving to Paris from New York for a year of adventure and traveling inspired me to write about my experiences and share them with my family and friends back home. I've always been a regular museum visitor and member and after finishing my MA in museum studies it seemed like the perfect fit for sharing my excitement about museums and travel through a blogsite.
WE: What are your top museum tips?
DG: Become a member! Most museum memberships will pay for themselves after a few visits and members can receive a lot of perks, like skipping lines or bringing friends for free. Being a member has also encouraged me to visit museums more often. If I have an extra ½ hour to kill I can pop in at my local museum without worrying that the admission price may not be worth the time I have there. Besides being financially helpful, memberships and supporting museums in general benefits the whole community on many levels.
-Take advantage of free or reduced rate periods, which most museums have.
-For popular museums, find the times when they are less crowded, which can also make the experience more enjoyable. In my experience, this is usually in the late afternoon or evening.
-Don't underestimate the interest a child can have in a museum. Family outings at museums are economical, fun and educational.
Art Paris Festival, Paris, France
WE: Why is visiting museums so important to learning about different cultures?
DG: I feel very fortunate to be able to travel often and learn about many cultures. For some people, traveling isn't an option but museums can transport visitors to a different place, educating about history and cultures which can promote understanding and tolerance.
WE: What are your favorite museums?
DG: This is a really tough question because of the vast number of fantastic museums I've been fortunate enough to visit. It often depends on my mood or current interests that are ever-changing, but if I'm forced to pick, I never get tired of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Louvre in Paris. I also love the Prado in Madrid and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens in NY. My favorite small museum is the Frick Collection in New York City and I always find something interesting at the Saatchi Gallery in London.
WE: How can families get the most out of a museum visit?
DG: Children's admission is usually free which can make for a cost effective family outing, especially in rough economic times. Before visiting, check the museum's website for current programs. Many museums have children's programs and workshops available to help children understand the collections and interact with the museum. I would like to add that for families with disabled members, new concepts for helping disabled children and adults to be more interactive with museum are becoming more widespread, such as Braille signs, Braille artwork panels, sign language tours and audio guides that take into account hearing disabilities.
Braille art metal panel in the Musée Cluny, Paris
WE: Are there any ways for travelers to give back to museums, while visiting?
DG: In my experience, just visiting, participating in programs and being a good visitor (e.g. don't touch the work or break the displays) are benefits for museums. Also, for travelers searching to buy souvenirs for family and friends back home, museum gift shops offer unique and educational gifts and sales will help support the museum.
WE: Thanks so much, Danee, for sharing your site - and experiences - with us! I love your site and have used it for not only dreaming and planning about trips, but also teaching about art.
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Feature photo: Louvre, Paris, at night.
All photos courtesy and copyright Danee Gilmartin