So this week-end, I went to NYC. I went there to meet with my friend she knows me pretty well so when I asked “hey what do you want to see ?” she just said “go ahead take the lead and organize the places you want to go”. Hell yes !
My first goal was to do at least two museums : the Metropolitan and the MoMa. We also saw the Brooklyn Bridge, the Rockefeller Center, caught a show on Broadway (little girl dream came true). We also enjoyed drinks at some bars and restaurants, NYC night life is nice I have to say.
This review will be from my perspective as a Médiatrice Culturelle (if you don’t know what that means please go here). However it will also have some perspective from my friend who do not work in that field (at all she is an engineer), so basically she needs different things when she enters a museum.
First of all I enjoyed going to the museum, I always do and the Met has (as everybody knows) one of the most amazing and massive collections in the world. Also I am naturally more drawn to contemporary art (it is my specialty) but I do enjoy archeology, ethnography and classical art.
Now I was disappointed by a few things.
1. The map
The first thing I do when I go to a Museum is to get a map, especially when it is a huge one and I don’t have a lot of time. I know I have to target the artworks I want to see.
Here is a picture of the Map’s Museum. We got lost a few times I have to say.
But I understand it is a huge museum : maybe it would be interesting to do a bigger one or to install maps of the departments in each of them with more precise informations.
Something they did at the Louvre Museum is they wrote down prestigious art works they have on display so people can go see them in priority. I am sure I have seen this in Museums in London as well but I don’t remember which one.
I know it can seem to be a little unsensitive but like I said before in my article for the Guggenheim, I am in NYC for a week-end or something I don’t have enough time to see everything.
here is a screenshot of the Louvre Map (first floor). I remember being there with my friend (yep the same) and we did not have a lot of time so we basically run through the departments to find those artworks. Also the ones I was studying in college at that time, which was awesome.
Of course if you go in advance to the Met’s website you can find cool itineraries for people who don’t have the time, here is the link.
I think that is great and I think that you need those on your museum’s website but who takes the time to go to a museum’s website and check the itineraries before going ?
It would be great if it was on the museum’s app available for android and iphones, I found some apps on the museum’s website but I didn’t find THE app for the museum. Do you know of it ?
Related cool links :
2. The “médiation” in the permanent collection
So when we entered the rooms I was looking for some pedagogical material to learn things about the artwork, their story, etc.
But I found nothing, really nothing. Not a panel, not some paper. If you want to know something you need either to take the audio guide or a guided tour, and I don’t like that.
I want to be able to go through the museum and learn something on my own while talking to my friend.
I did not see any analysis of some artworks, or information on how the tribal masks on display were used.
The only info I saw was inside the Egyptian tumb (the small one not the Temple of Dendur, it was execeptionnally closed).
Below is a picture,
At some places you could find some info printed on the glass of the showcases.
I mean there are so many things you can do, let’s take an exemple :
On that picture we can see two women looking at the hieroglyphs on the sarcophagus and trying to translate them on their phones. What a great idea ! Why not do a panel with the actual translation or turn it into an interactive game where visitors can try to translate and feel like an archeologist, while learning the meaning of those symbols.
A few months ago I was in Kologn, Germany and I saw an amazing Museum there, which won a European award for its museography, I am definetly going to do an article about it. It will actually demonstrate what I look for in a museum (any kind).
Maybe i am wrong and I did not find those things but it was the same for my friend she was expecting a few more explanations. It might also be cultural, in France we have a lot of “médiation” in our collections, so the visitor expects to find them when he or she goes to any museum.
3. Where to sit
I can walk a long time in a museum without feeling tired, but i don’t think everyone is like me. One thing a lot of museums forget is to get more seating spots, they are really essentials for everyone, of course they are priority for seniors, pregnant women, children but also for others. You are visiting a place, walking everywhere and it is important to take a time to sit.
It is also a really great way to look at an artwork, just sitting in front of it for a few minutes, discovering new details, new colors, or a new angle.
Finally there is something I did not understand, we found a place to sit and look at the map, here are the pictures.
She kindly striked a pose as a typical visitor for me, thank you again.
Don’t you think there is something wrong ?
They put up alarms so you don’t get too close to the artwork but here you can actually sit this close ?
Maybe we were wrong to sit there, but why put something that looks like a seat and actually let the visitors use it as one ?
Or maybe they are facsimile but I don’t think so.
In conclusion don’t get me wrong I enjoyed my visit at the Metropolitan Museum, it is an amazing collection which I was super excited to see.
I recommend everyone to go to a museum, just don’t forget it is like a novel or a movie, you might like this one or hate it. It does not mean they are all the same, so if tomorrow you go to a museum and don’t like it, don’t give up just yet, try another one.
Articles to come :
- Review of the MoMa
- My favorite artworks of the week-end
- Photographs of NYC – Walking around
- and many more…
And because : museums are fun, I like to take silly pictures and knights are cool, let’s go jousting.