In How to Navigate a Museum, in today’s New York Times, the best advice offered is this:
“A common mistake people make is to stay at a museum too long to try to see as much as possible, but this will only result in sensory overload and leave you overwhelmed.”
I put this into practice at the Victoria & Albert Museum when I visited last year: I spent 30 minutes in the architecture section, took a quick tour through the special exhibition on the theatre, dropped in at the bookstore, and was off. It was the perfect visit.
This is why I enjoy having a Dutch 'museum card' which is an annual subscription allowing free access to most if not all museums in the country. The 'let's see everything' urge I think is a combination of FOMO and having paid 15 bucks at the door, preventing you from popping in and out a few times. Case in point: yesterday after meeting a client and having an hour or so until my next appointment I popped into the Frisian museum, and walked around for 45 mins. Sometime ago I visited a museum in The Hague between appointments just to look at 1 painting for a few minutes. I would not have done that without the card giving me free access.
I tried ordering a coffee from Starbucks using its mobile app the other day, something that’s required if you want to be able to set up the new “Starbucks Reorder” Alexa skill (I don’t like Starbucks coffee, but I wanted to see how this works).
I placed the order from the street outside the shop, and by the time I walked inside the coffee was being prepared, and by the time I got to the “mobile order pickup” counter, the server said “are you Peter?” and handed me a coffee when I confirmed.
Before I did this experiment I could not fathom the utility of pre-ordering a Starbucks coffee; but after the fact I was impressed by the degree of friction it removed from the process.
I imagine a museum card, in addition to removing price issues from the equation, also serves the same purpose: I removes the micro-friction of having to purchase a ticket, a (perhaps very) small barrier to entry that’s taken out of the way.
In the same vein, there are certain companies that make a limited number of SKUs that I would happily place a “send me one of everything you ever make” order.
It does remove friction yes, even though you do have to pass the cashier to have the card scanned (and often still get a printed ticket to show the guard at the entry to an exhibit.) But no transaction, and for busy exhibits (think Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam) you get to skip all the queues. That alone is worth the subscription :)
I like Audio Guides - British
I like Hands-On Museums
I really like interacting museums (Audio Guides, Touching, Moving Etc.)