This week at my internship we went on a tour of the museum while also being taught how to give a proper tour. I personally dislike going on tours of art museums with people, mostly because I want straight facts about the piece and not a conversation with other people I don’t know. I much rather get a pair of headphones and listen to what each piece is about on a device.
Many museums use visual thinking strategies (VTS), and these strategies are more targeted to a specific group, children. These strategies include asking questions like ‘What do you see?’, ‘How does this make you feel?’, and etc. For someone in college who takes multiple art history classes a year, I would personally dislike being asked these types of questions. Recently I read this article called, “How to view art: Be dead serious about it, but don’t expect too much”, which talks about how this is a bad thing when done in a very aggressive tone.
In the section of the article called “Study up”, the author says, “If the guide spends all his or her time asking questions rather than explaining art and imparting knowledge, do not waste your time.” This is kind of harsh but I do agree with this, except if it is a children’s tour group. I think the best way for children to learn about art is VTS; its simple and gets them talking about it more then just saying, ‘Cool’.
Reading this article, I was so conflicted as to whether I liked what the author was saying or not. He is forcing his opinion down your throat so much it gets intense. While reading this with everyone else in the internship I could see all their expressions. We all talked about this article for about two hours, and kept going back and forth if we liked it or not.
Read it yourself, get worked up like we all did!
How to view art: Be dead serious about it, but don’t expect too much