Observations at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

What are some things that one can do in an art museum? I pondered this question on a recent visit to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Some immediate things that come to mind:

  1. Observe (look at) art.
  2. As a continuation of observation, read the accompanying banner about the art piece or listen to a segment corresponding to the art piece on the audio tour.
  3. Interact with art (if the piece calls for it and/or it is allowed).
  4. Makes a sketch (or sketches) of the art in front of you.
  5. Describe the art piece to someone in your vicinity (to an audience, such as a guide might do) or mention something about the art (or not) to someone in your vicinity to elicit a reaction.
  6. Take a picture of the art in front of you.
  7. Take a selfie in front of an art piece.
  8. Have someone take a photo of you in front of an art piece (or some architectural element of the museum).
  9. Go to a help desk to ask for directions or inquire about the latest exhibition. 
  10. Within the confines of a museum, go get some nourishment in the form of drink or food.
  11. Take a break from art—answer an email on your computer or phone, scroll through your Instagram account, read some brochures about the museum, or discuss something non-art related with your friend, partner, significant other, spouse, parent, sibling, or child.

What else would you add to the list above?

Take a look at the photos below. What else would you consider part of a visit to an art museum which isn't reflective in these photos?

Afternoon tea break at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

When a work e-mail calls...

Observing Claude Monet's Haystacks series.

A question subject to debate: landscape or portrait mode for capturing photos of art?

All Art Has Been Contemporary. (One can make the same claim about technology.)

"And then I said..."

"Can we discuss this some other time?"


My favorite photograph of this set: the observation state of this woman is deep and transformative. 

You can't fly in a museum, but you can take photos of flying art.

A few questions for the reader:

Was it easy to characterize the photos above into the categories listed at the top of the post? Would some human activities belong to multiple categories? What are some of your favorite things to do in an art museum?


All photos captured with the Canon 5D Mark IV + Canon 35mm f/1.4L lens.