Erica Vetsch here: I am so thrilled to be here with the HHH writers! I am sure as time goes by, we will get to know one another better, but I will tell you one thing right off the top: I am a museum junkie. Day trips, family vacations, research excursions...they all wind up taking me to museums to learn and see and experience the amazing history that is all around us.
Along the way, I've learned a few tips to make museum-going a good experience, and I would love to share them with you.
1. Make a Plan.
Before you set out, make a plan. Research what hours and days your desired museum destination is open. Often museums are closed on Mondays, some days they offer discounted rates, and some museums are seasonal. Find out before you leave the house, because nobody wants to be disappointed arriving to find a museum closed for the day.
|Glensheen Mansion, Duluth MN
2. Know Your Audience
Who will be in your group? Writers on a research field trip? Small children? Elderly folks? Not all museums will be interesting to every demographic. Young children often do best with hands-on museums where they can touch and hear and experience history through age-appropriate displays and activities. Museums such as old houses or living history locations with lots of stairs or long walks might not be as fun for the elderly. Docent-led tours will be most interesting for those who like a personal guide and someone to answer questions.
3. Ask About Museum Policies
My husband is a wonderful photographer, and when we go to museums, he inquires first thing about their photography policies. Some museums do not allow any photography, some will allow photography in selected areas of the museum or only without using the flash, and some museums want you to snap away. If the museum you're attending allows photography, YAY! Take lots of pictures. Here are a few tips when it comes to photography in museums:
- When photographing textiles, don't use flash.
|Confederate Flag from the Texas Civil War Museum, taken sans flash.
Camera flashes damage cloth, cause it to fade, and eventually to disintegrate. Respect the artifact and consider all the people who would like to see it years from now and turn off your flash.
- Take photos of the signage that accompanies an artifact so you can remember the details when you get home.
|The sign that accompanied the above flag.
This is so helpful for research. Details are important, and though I always think I will remember what made a particular artifact interesting...I need the reminder of what the signage said.
- Take some pictures with people in them!
|My husband in front of the John Wayne Birthplace Home in Winterset, IA
While it is nice to have photos of all the cool things you saw, don't forget the people you were with. It's the people that make the visit, and it's the people that you will want to share the memories with later.
The last museum I visited was the Mill Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post in Onamia, MN. What's the last museum you visited?
Erica Vetsch is a transplanted Kansan now residing in Minnesota. She loves history and romance, and is blessed to be able to combine the two by writing historical romances. Whenever she’s not immersed in fictional worlds, she’s the company bookkeeper for the family lumber business, mother of two, wife to a man who is her total opposite and soul-mate, and avid museum patron.
You can visit her online at www.ericavetsch.com and on Facebook at Erica Vetsch Author