When you are travelling, Museums can really help you grasp and get a better understanding of a country's definition. Everything from history to artwork or something more specific like coins and glass work. However, there are some things you should take into account, especially when in a country new to you, some barriers which may cause dilemmas, so here are some words of advice on how to get things to run more smoothly.
1) Timing! – Such an important factor when going for tours , especially when visiting museums, a lot of things will appear as common sense, but its the little details that count. Especially in a city or country you may not know so well. Get organised, and find out exact times that you need to be there, allow for extra time at the start in case it is busy and allow for time afterwards for group reflection and museum shop browsing. Also important for any hiccups you may find along the way. Make this a priority!
2) Go with a tour guide – Having visited museums, both with and without tour guides, the difference is huge. When you are on your own, yes there is the opportunity to leisurely browse and at your own pace, however, the guided tour offers so much more. There is the opportunity to learn so much more that isn't on those little piece of writing. They can give you a vast amount of knowledge and will be able to answer questions that you may have. In the bigger museums it is also easier to lose track ad get lost, and even if you may have a map , it is ideal to be with a tour guide.
3)Take a full day – Again, taking timing into consideration, there are some museums that are so huge and emotional and educationally a lot to take in. In Israel , museums such as the Eretz Israel and Yad Vashem are two to take into account. Both are open for a long part of the day and this is because there is so much to take in. There is a huge difference in these two museums, Yad Vashem being very emotional, and Eretz Yisrael has numerous things to keep your mind stimulated. So take this into account- you do not want to be rushing off to something else afterwards and constantly looking at your watch.
4)Find out about special exhibitions – ask around, your tour operator, guides, hotels and locals even about special exhibitions. In a recent visit we found, there was a bridal exhibition in the Diaspora which we found out about in advance. Having said that, it would be a terrible shame not knowing and allowing that extra time to allow for such an enjoyment.
5) Be interactive! Use Facebook, twitter, Google, Instagram and apps …. so this is something to really take into account and think about. First of all, it contacts the museum itself more directly, whilst most places have websites and yes they do answer their phones, the Facebook and twitter as well as other social networking websites are much more interactive. They respond almost immediately, and usually have someone always checking up. Even at milestones Israel , we now take Facebook into a high priority, and most places actually get more feedback on this than anywhere. Also of course get on trip adviser and see what other opinions are, other peoples feedback is great to experience.
6) Book in advance ! – This can cause major problems if you do not. Finding out about big tours being there, investigating language barriers, may even prevent the option of going. It is something which doesn't take much time, and well worth it. It can really cause much waiting around or even cancellation if there isn't an option to go, and may even ruin your day, so call up and book in advance.
7)Coordinate transport – If you are not part of a organised/guided tour, and are on your own , make it a priority to plan out your day and be organised. Public transport in a country or city you are unfamiliar with can be something that will stop you from having a great time. Moovit and Google Maps are a great help , or even better, when booking in advance find out about their suggestions for getting there.
8) Do your own background research! Wikipedia and Google will give you a better idea of what to expect. A lot of the times when you visit museums, it is word of mouth that sparks up the idea to go. It never does any harm to do your own check up on things. Again… the websites of the museums are something which fall behind sometimes… a lot of them take social networking a priority as opposed to their website itself. So use of Google and Wikipedia can give you a basic knowledge of what you need to know…and also gives you a chance to pipe up and quiz your tour guide on the way!