MUSEUM PET PEEVE…
I don’t have many pet peeves, but I HATE museum audio tours. The tour is not the problem, it’s how the patrons behave while they are taking the tour. Most are oblivious to all of the other people in the museum and they wander RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU when you are looking at the artwork.
It’s the absolute height of rudeness. And let me tell you, it’s not children or teens who are doing this, it’s grown ass adults. People who should know better.
I have found the worst place for this is at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. It’s a wonderful museum so it’s a real shame. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that space is tight as you weave through the exhibition space or that the audio tour is free with admission so everyone takes the tour, but it is unbelievably obnoxious.
To add insult to injury. I have observed numerous times that the patron is LOOKING AT THE IMAGE ON THEIR PHONE while listening to the tour instead of LOOKING AT THE PAINTING DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THEM!
This is the third time I have visited this museum and now my husband and I have a game that we play. Instead of trying to go through the museum in chronological order as it is designed, we simply run to whatever painting has a vacancy and look at that painting. If you were to track us from above you would see us wildly zig zagging throughout the museum.
The thing about Dali is that you need to look at his paintings up close. While he did some monumental pieces, the bulk of his work is small. His detail is on a miniature scale. You have to get very close to each piece to truly appreciate his beautiful and luminous paintings. Having someone invade your personal space while you are viewing the painting is infuriating and it has happened time and time again at this museum.
I am guessing that Dali is a real mystery for many people and so they take advantage of the audio tour. I would probably learn a lot myself. However, based on principle, I now refuse the tours everywhere I go and rely solely on the didactics to guide me through each exhibition.
Whew! It feels good to get that off my chest. Take the audio tour if you must, but please be mindful of your fellow museum patrons and art lovers while you enjoy your visit.
You can view Laura Morrison’s artwork at LauraMorrisonArt.com (No audio tour is available.)
P.S. You can see my dear husband, Scott, in the picture above. He is the only one without headphones in the yellow and blue plaid shirt.