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Museum etiquette - keep up or fall behind?

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I know this probably isn't anybody's idea of a massive breach of etiquette but I would like your opinions for future reference.

A few years ago, my DH and I along with another couple decided to take advantage of the local art museum's free admission day. No one couple invited the other - it was just a mutual "hey, let's get together and check this out" kind of thing. The museum is set up like many others - about 10 smaller rooms, separated by walls, but connected by large open doors. The show was a wonderful exhibit on Auguste Rodin and included videos on modern-day sculpture making. Well, I kind of got a little immersed in reading all the cards attached for each piece and looking at the details of the sculptures and maybe I watched the video a little too long and lost track of the rest of my party among the various rooms. After I felt I'd gotten my fill, I headed for the exit to the exhibit where I found DH and the other couple sitting on a bench outside. OC didn't seem put out but I could tell DH was irked. When I asked how long they had been waiting DH said "quite a while" but couldn't give me an actual time frame.

The reason I thought about this again was that we were initially planning to check out another exhibit at the same museum but with another couple this weekend. I made a joke that DH better warn the new couple that I like to read every word on the cards at art exhibits. "Yes, that was very rude of you to make our friends wait on you like at the Rodin exhibit," he said. Oh.  :-[

So my question is: when you're visiting an art museum as a member of a group, what is the polite form? Travel from room to room sticking to the group or split up as if you were individual patrons to go at your own pace?

It turns out that the new couple can't make the event this weekend so I'm just asking so that I'm not rude if this comes up again.

I'm happy to go at my own pace and meet at the exit.  I don't think you were rude and if your husband and the other couple were that bothered your husband should have come and found you and told you quietly that everyone was waiting for you.

If the everyone in the group takes about the same time it makes sense to wait at the end of each room to stay together. If one person is a lot slower, I think it's best if the others go ahead. However I would not find it rude if the faster ones tell the slow one when they are done with the exhibit and I don't think it would be rude of them to expect the slow person to finish up shortly or otherwise decide on what they will do while the slow person finishes up.

I think if you really want to study an exhibit in depth while the rest of your group wants to just browse, it might be best to go on separately. I have sent my family to the science museum in London while I enjoyed the Victoria & Albert museum across the street to my heart's content (my DH and DS would have been bored out of their mind within less than half an hour) during a visit to the UK.

I once had the reverse problem: While I was 7 months pregnant a friend was visiting and we all went to a special exhibit at a local art museum we were all interested in. Because I needed to sit down frequently I went through each room a bit faster than the others to allow me to sit down for a bit without making them wait.

Does the museum have a nice cafe? If so, maybe your DH and the other couple could spend the extra time there while you finish.

I know when I'm in museums, I tend to go through a room pretty quickly, and not read everything associated with the exhibits. But for me its because my eyesight stinks and sometimes its just too hard to read. I just either wander around some more, until whoever I'm with is done, or find a bench and sit and wait. doesn't bother me a bit. Or I'll let them know I need to use the facilities and do so.  And every now and then something catches my eye and I might spend extra time looking at it

I've never had anyone tell me I was annoying for not keeping up, or going to fast.  I think its sort of understood that everyone goes at their own pace, and you meet up eventually.


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