Lessons From Visiting Museums Abroad

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Stories November 12, 2020 Lessons From Visiting Museums Abroad

Our Los Angeles tour guide extraordinaire, Adrian, recently took a trip across the pond where she visited some incredible museums in the UK, France, and Germany.

We caught up with her to find out more about her trip, to learn what makes visiting museums abroad so exciting, and how to combat dreaded museum fatigue when traveling!

Adrian travels in style in her MAFA gear!

Museum Hack: What made you decide to take this trip?

Adrian: I planned my trip around a good friend’s wedding in England. Afterward, my boyfriend and I were lucky to be able to squeeze in stops to Paris and Berlin, too!

Museum Hack: Which museums did you visit in London?

Adrian: The Victoria and Albert Museum in London was highly recommended. We didn’t have much time, as we arrived just an hour before closing. The only way to hack this massive museum was to divide and conquer. After splitting up, we took photos of our favorite works so we could share them on the ride home. It was a great way to ‘see’ the whole collection and hear how my friends had experienced the museum on their own.

Museum Hack: Where did you go next? 

Adrian: PARIS!!! The entire city is a museum, every detail beautiful and intentional. I walked around in a dreamlike daze. We spent an entire day at the Louvre! It’s amazing how the building itself is a work of art, so detailed and ornate.  It used to be a palace and is so ornate and outrageous – no wonder the peasants revolted.

Musée d’Orsay is my favorite museum in the world. It is where all of my favorite art lives. 🙂

Museum Hack: Do you have any advice for those of us who suffer from museum fatigue?

Adrian: Yes, museum fatigue is a real thing, even if you love museums as much as I do! We found it was important for us to keep it fun and light. Greg and I ran around making up our own captions for the art. We also had an ongoing competition to see who could find and photograph the best museum butt! It got a little awkward when I was showing my grandma pictures from our trip LOL 🙂

Museum Hack: Tell us about Berlin!

Adrian: We had a great time in Berlin exploring Museum Island, specifically the Pergamonmuseum, Neues Museum, and the Nationalgalerie. After WWII, many buildings were under physical distress, ie. cracked walls and nearly destroyed murals. It was incredible to see some of the distressed buildings had been intentionally preserved to memorialize the city’s history. The art in Berlin brought up a lot of questions around looted art and ownership as well as copies and casts.

Museum Hack: How do you mean?

Adrian: There are many schools of thought on the repatriation of art! As a tour guide, I often have to ask myself, “How should I present these artworks and tell their stories when I too feel conflicted about repatriation?” I make the choice to present all sides of the story and ask my guests to decide for themselves. It often leads to very interesting conversations!

Museum Hack: What was the best part of exploring museums abroad?

Adrian: I love to see how each country/city chooses to display their art; in what context and with what stories. As a guide and storyteller, I am fascinated by how art fits into context, culture, and identity. I made new connections and am exploring ideas that I’m excited to bring back and incorporate into my tour of the Getty in LA!

Museum Hack: That all sounds amazing! Thank you for sharing your museum adventures and awesome pictures!

Join Adrian on our Un-Highlights tour of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles! Do you have any pictures sporting MAFA gear or stories to share from your travels in museums, both at home and abroad? We’d love for you to share them with us! Use the hashtag #museumhack on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, or leave us a comment below!

written with 💖 by Taylor Gmahling

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