A few important factors to keep in mind for ANY museum visit:
- Wear comfortable shoes - After about 5 minutes the floors become terribly hard on your feet, and you don't want sore tootsies keeping you from enjoying your day. Opt for some cute sneakers with serious cushioning.
- Bring a notepad - Jot down the names of artists (or scientists, archeological sites, what have you) whose work you want to learn more about. You'll see so much in one museum it's impossible to recall all of the items you wanted to do some more research on, so go prepared with a little notebook.
- Take a pen - Of course you'll need something to write on your notepad with, but I recommend taking a pen for another reason as well... to write on the museum map! The glossy pamphlets they typically provide at museums are hard to write on with a pencil, so take a pen with you to mark on the map as you go. Star the exhibits you absolutely must see, cross out rooms as you go along, make notes of where you found a surprising treasure you want to recommend to a friend, even draw arrows to plan out your attack.
- Rest frequently - Museum going can be exhausting. Most of us aren't used to standing on such hard floors all day in the low lighting, and all the intellectual stimulation can be downright fatiguing if you don't take things at a slow enough pace. Be sure to sit down at regular intervals, and scope out a cozy corner where you can relax between exhibits to jot down your thoughts about what you've seen. You'll be happy to have a record of your trip afterward, and you'll have more stamina to enjoy the rest of the museum.
- Eat - Take healthy snacks with you to power your visit. Trail mix, like raisins and almonds, always packs well and the combination of natural sugar and protein is a great combination for short-term and long-term energy. Many museums offer dining options should your visit span over a meal time, but bringing a sandwich can be a good way to cut the cost of your trip dramatically ($12 salads from a box or a $6 PB&J? Supply and demand, I guess).
- Take a layer - You never know how cool or warm it will be in museums, and it tends to vary from one room to the next, so dress in layers. You'll be glad to have a cozy cardigan tucked in your bag in the drafty European portraiture hall, and equally as glad to peel it off when you reach the small contemporary collage room filled with people putting off body heat.