8 Reasons Why You Should Visit Museums

September 4, 2020

The story was originally published here
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Bode Museum, Berlin

Museums are one of those places where one can experience the incredible magic of the past. How people lived, how we came into being, what happened to our ancestors, how humans built the great empires, who were before us, what did they do in their daily lives and most importantly how they persisted! Every piece in a museum gallery speaks for itself and takes you back to a world that we have never seen.

If you are reading this then we share something in common. Your love for history, art, cultures and all things ancient has brought you here. We are the same who at some point probably looked for answers in the form of an explanation in a piece of art. I believe some of us who enjoy wandering inside museums or galleries have wondered what inspired an artist to create their work? What is an in-depth meaning of whatever it is that we have observed or admired? But often what we don’t think is — what takes us back to those walls containing ancient history? How do we form the connection?

Well my museum story is based on my sensory organs — or more specifically my obsession with the smell I constantly find upon walking into museum galleries. I call it the ‘scent of the past’ . A bit weird but it actually comes from the hundreds and thousands of years old artifacts sealed inside the buildings. I often feel that they speak to me using the ‘scent’ and that is exactly why you will find me wandering around in many museum hallways around the world.

The significance of museums — 8 major reasons

Simply put — I love history and that naturally makes me fall in love with museums. It is the only place where I can feel my brain cells seeping all the information they can find. If books provide literary enlightenment, then museums give visual connection to the past. Every museum has a little bit of us. Whether we identify with the culture/art/history or not, they tell stories that remain with us for the longest time. Museums treasure the world that we have never seen, the past that we were not part of and gives us wealth of information about ancient civilizations and cultures. A walk through the galleries of any museum gives you a tour of the world in few hours and showcase voices from the past.

So let me tell you why I think you should visit a museum (and ignore people who don’t):

  1. Museums are open to everyone and are one of those places when race, class, gender, religion don’t matter at all. You be you and history will gladly take you in.
  2. Museums are never boring if you know where to go. For instance, there is a Museum of Broken Relationships that has been established for the sole purpose of treasuring heartbreak stories and meaningful possessions. Sounds cool, right? That’s what I am talking about.
  3. Night at the Museum — actually happens in real life. No, the animals don’t come alive at night but the community does! A lot of museums offer sleepovers at night (with a fee) with family and friends, which are tremendous fun and engaging.
  4. Museum cafes are some of the best — and they serve really good food. Try sipping your coffee, admire a self-portrait from the 16th century and compare with a selfie in your smart phone. Trust me you will start asking yourself so many artistic questions.
  5. Museums host some brilliant events. Lectures, movie screenings, performances, workshops and special exhibitions can sometimes be free or ticketed but the quality of these events are worth attending.
  6. A place for revolutionary artists who create pieces of art to make sure marginalized voices and stories are heard. Some of these pieces are so close to heart that will bring emotions straight to your eyes.
  7. Museums bring history back to life. You don’t have to go there to get a history lesson but your presence would mean that you respect the past and appreciate your existence. I strongly believe we can engage and educate ourselves in so many ways but the way museums inspire us and forms a personal connection is impeccable. People think, reflect and help bring change to the communities from the inspiration they get and this way make their voices heard.
  8. Last but not the least to be able to respect the past. Representing both pain and pleasure, history has been retold through the pieces of art that are housed in every museums. We pay admission or membership fees to go see art from the past but a lot of the times we are not aware of the origin or inspiration behind them. Hence when I walk inside a gallery, I pay my respects and honor the past civilizations. I take my moment to take a step back and admire the beauty of their incredible skills that are put on display.

It has been my absolute pleasure and delight to have visited a number of incredible museums around the world. From New York to Paris to Rome to Cairo — my museum visits have been a passion masquerading as a hobby, to get an understanding on the past civilizations that preceded the modern humans.