We struggle to come up with smart ways to navigate museums, especially if we are without a guide.
The Louvre Museum, one of the largest museums in the world, is always a challenge. First of all, it is impossible to cover the museum so you have to focus on the hot spots. Secondly, the crowds are unrelenting. Thirdly, everybody sees museums differently. For me, I like to stroll through a museum with about 10 pieces of art in my mind that I know I want to see. Then the rest is serendipity and upside—taking wrong turns, stumbling through centuries, occasionally sitting down, and pretty much going at my own pace.
I always try to imagine how complicated it is for a teacher and his or her group to pull this off; to give kids directions and yet still allow them the freedom to move around and interact with the art.
Recently, I was moving through the Louvre with a tablet pre-loaded with a game. It had lots of interactive activities with a time limit set on every question. I really wanted this to work. But for me the problem was that I stopped looking at the art and focused entirely on the questions on the tablet.
I love museums and could happily spend days wandering through the past. Realistically, with two hours and some “must-sees” like the Mona Lisa, the Raft of Medusa, the Coronation of Napoleon, the Wedding Feast at Cana, and Winged Victory, plus the incidentals, you have to be organized.
If you are working off of a tablet, the navigation points have to work and it has to be clear. For me, it was not brilliant and it didn’t help that they had spirited away the Winged Victory (as it were) while they were doing some renovations. Oh, well. Back to the drawing board as it were!