Top Ten Things Not to do in a Museum

If you are like me, you don’t often go to the museum but when visiting you like to have as little to do with other people as possible. The inspiration for this list is the sometimes annoying behavior of other visitors on these rare visit occasions. I live on an island and have visited the local museum many times, so my other visits to museums involve travel and time. The trouble to get to a museum is why I’m especially annoyed when others seem to believe space is theirs to do as they please.


Top Ten Things Not to Do in a Museum

10 If you are visiting a museum in the kids section, do not hog the action and allow your children an opportunity to play with the interactive displays too. If you do, at best you will upset your kids. At worst, you will give new meaning to the term bully. (Sure the electricity display is fun but come on Rufus, give the kids a break)

9 If you are visiting a museum, do not continue walking around in your squeaky shoes. If you do, at best you will annoy everyone you pass. At worst, your squeaks will spark an instinctive urge to kill in Brutus the WWF ex-world champ who just got released from a treatment facility. (Yes, his eyes are glowing red, and he’s coming your way)

8 If you are in an Art museum, do not vocalize your profound understanding of the artist’s motivation in any work loudly and especially the piece titled “My Poop.” If you do, at best those around you will have validation you don’t know anything about art. At worst, you may have to put up for the rest of your stay with a similarly minded art aficionado who hasn’t had a bath in months. (Is this person suggesting you go to dinner?)

7 If you are in a museum, so not touch a painting. If you do, at best a kindly octogenarian guard will ask you to step away. At worst, you will have to be quick to avoid the falling gate and the tear gas before you are tackled by a SWAT Team member. (Now you know the sign “Do Not Touch The Art,” is not kidding. Don’t worry you’ll make bail.)

6 If you are in a museum, do not take pictures. If you do, at best you will be asked to stop. At worst, your camera will be confiscated, and you will be charged a royalty for each picture taken. (Of course, you could always let them keep your camera or phone)

5 If you are in a museum, do not talk back in a loud voice to the recorded tour that you hear in your headphones. If you do, at best all you’ll get are strange looks. At worst, some well-meaning person will place a call to EMS since they are convinced you are in an overdose situation. (The tip-off for them was when you were arguing with the recording about the meaning of a black hole.)

4 If you are in a museum, do not try to help the staff by removing a dinosaur tibia bone because you thought it was going to fall. If you do, at best the bone was going to fall. At worst, the bone was the cornerstone of the entire dinosaur skeleton and although it looked like it would fall was positioned that way because it supported the whole ten thousand bone construction.(It only took museum employees four years to construct what took four seconds for you to make a pile. Sneaking out before discovery might be a life-saving measure)

3 If you visit a primarily adult display museum, do not take kids under three years old. If you do, at best you will be worn out trying to keep them quiet. At worst, the rest of the people in the museum will be spent wishing you could keep them quiet. (Better a trip to the park next time)

2 If you visit an art museum, do not discuss out loud your art at home as it compares to the masters. If you do, at best others will think you a braggart. At worst, you might be overheard by an enterprising but out of work youth who will surprise you in the middle of the night while helping himself to your paintings. (Now don’t you feel foolish discussing those Wal-Mart knock-offs?)

1 If you visit an art museum, do not make comments about the nude statues in your outside voice. If you do, at best it is possible that some may be offended by your observations. At worst, you may be unknowingly violating some local indecency ordinance, especially when referring to particular body parts. (Most everyone will admit after you were taken away the way you wove David into your locker room joke was pretty funny)


  1. This hilarious. Love it. Although#6 cameras and picture taking of art is allowed at some areas of museums. They’ll even have signs posted if you are allowed to take pictures or not in each section I think. At least the museums I’ve been to at California do.

    1. Thanks Michelle. You are so right although I did get into a bit of a spat in San Fransisco.

  2. 11) Do NOT queue for hours in the Louvre, just to see the Mona Lisa.
    If you do, you will most likely shuffle past the world’s least impressive painting without noticing it, (it could almost double as an overpriced postage stamp) and that’s only if you haven’t been trampled to death by the hordes of Japanese tourists who are all surreptitiously trying to take prohibited photos of it before getting spotted by the guards.

    1. If I took you’re advice I wouldn’t have the completely idiotic Mona Lisa selfie I now proudly display.

      1. Hahaha, I hope you’ve Photoshopped the obligatory moustache and glasses onto her.

      2. Big nose as well

    2. Make that shot by the guards. I also loved the thick greenish glass she was behind.

      1. Yes, a massive let-down in every respect.

      2. I still loved the museum. (and have to admit liked getting a personal view of Mona)

      3. Hmmm, I’ve got to say that, at the time I visited the Louvre (a good few years ago now) it was stultifyingly dull.
        The glass pyramid was cool though.

      4. The van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, now THAT’S a cool place.

      5. I used to copy his works. I was lousy at it but was a way to truly appreciate his work.

      6. If you haven’t been, I’d highly recommend it. It’s worth going, just to see The Potato Eaters up close. Astonishing painting.

      7. The time I was in Amsterdam the museum was closed for some reason I can’t recall. I need to go back.

      8. The Diamond Exchange, just round the corner, that’s pretty cool too

      9. Missed that. I was smoking er drinking “coffee”

      10. I seem to recall there were also one or two nice “coffee” shops there somewhere…

      11. There were a lot of “coffee” shops.

  3. Ha! Great list, John. I got a kick out of “Brutus” — and the rest too. Monday hugs!

    1. Thanks Teagan. 😀

  4. Sadly I have at one time or another violated at least half of these rules, including once at the Vatican. (How do you not take a picture of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel?)

    1. You have to do it.

  5. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a museum that forbade photography. Is this an art museum thing? I usually go to science and natural history ones, so maybe the rules are different.

    1. Yes the flashes supposedly harm the art. (so I’ve been told)

      1. Guess that makes sense. Exposure to light can damage colors.

      2. Think thousands of flashes.

  6. My mother would be so guilty of number 5! I can hear it now…”Really? That’s fascinating”

    1. Ha ha ha. I think we all have done it.

  7. Great list, John! Growing up in the suburbs of Washington D.C. area, our field trips always involved trips to the museums. I remember my classmate who always had the squeaky shoes. 🙂

    1. I think I used to have the same shoes. Thanks, Jill

  8. Isn’t hard not touch the paint of the masters? I had to put my hands in my pockets at the Smithsonian.

    1. You want to feel the brush strokes right?

  9. I’m taking you with me to my next museum. You can keep me out of trouble, or serve as a distraction while I make my escape. Either one.

    1. I got your back.

  10. Great suggestions. I haven’t been to a museum in a while, but as I recall, MANY of these were violated while I was there. It’s hard to fix stupid.

  11. Hahaha Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for the visit.

  12. How did I ever get by without you, John?

    1. Maybe. But life is easier now.

  13. Ha ha ha. If I ever had one experience with any of the incidents on this list, I’d never enter another museum again. Even in libraries these days, people act like the building is all for them.
    Still, hilarious as always. Love the bracketed dry humor after each. 😀 😀 😀

    1. Thanks Tess. Love your comments.

  14. As per your second commandment, I have in fact compared a print of Van Gogh’s Starry Night that I nabbed at Target (Clearance price 20 bucks!) with some of his masterpieces, just for the hell of it. But I only shared my thoughts with the girl I was dating at the time. Which, is probably why she took a taxi home now that I think about it . . .

    As for Number 7, I have a confession to make. I touched the Rosetta Stone when I visited the British Museum. Yep, I had my then wife run interference as I leaned over the velvet rope. I had to.

    1. You are absolved of all blame Pilgrim. I’m sure the stone’s recent crack was in no way your fault.

      1. Right, I had nothing to do with it . . .

  15. Great tips! Husband and I visited the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston this weekend. All went well except for a few couple who seemed to think it was OK for their child to run from one exhibit to another. The octogenarian guard quickly took care of that!

    1. Love those guards. Too bad the parents didn’t see the need to control them.

  16. Hilarious, John. I always preferred the natural history museums and their displays. 🙂 — Suzanne

    1. All the dioramas are very interesting. I agree.

  17. Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog and commented:
    Here is a very funny (and practical) post about what to not do in a museum. I’m going to have to print this and bring it with me next time I go to one.

    1. Thank you for the reblog, Don. If you forget the guards will remind you.

  18. If you are viewing”My Poop” at the museum, don’t fart.

    1. If I were the artist I would install an olfactory event with the work. Farting would be okay. If not though, your advice is good. Ha ha ha

      1. You have reminded me of a Bob & Tom radio skit.

      2. Funny. Sophomoric and funny.

  19. When in an art museum one should whisper to no one not even ones self. Best to stare and looked amazed or maybe disappointed, error on caution, probably. Never know who’s watching for a reaction. 🙂

    1. Yes. Talking to one’s self has it’s risks.

      1. Risks you’re willing to take, Butch.

  20. John, this is hilarious! Ha, ha! Unfortunately, I’m well aware that some people do behave that way. I have to admit I am guilty of #6. I honeymooned in Paris and when we went it was off season, so my husband and I had The Louvre and d’Orsay museums pretty much to ourselves. We took lots of pictures and videos. How could you not take a picture of the Mona Lisa?

    1. I found her behind thick green glass so I didn’t take a shot. I’ll bet you had a wonderful time there.

      1. I really did. The Mona Lisa was within a glass box, but the glass was very clear, so we were able to see it clearly and take a couple of good pictures. I’m a museum aficionado. I would love to visit every major museum in the world.

      2. Me too. I love museums.

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