Museum Myth Monday: Museums are Cool

The first rule of cool is that you should never be the one to say you’re cool; you should let other people do that for you. In some ways, as an employee of the UMFA, I am totally about to break that rule. But perhaps instead we should consider me that “other person” that’s telling you why the museum is cool. So, let’s talk behind its back:

Mademoiselle Marie-Madeleine Guimard (Tête de femme au miroir) (Woman Looking in a Mirror). 1772

Vanity is not cool! Mademoiselle Marie-Madeleine Guimard (Tête de femme au miroir) (Woman Looking in a Mirror). 1772

We’ve spent the month of April showing how to walk into our doors, making sure you know it’s okay to come alone and just hang out, talking about how important it is to see art in person, and providing some guidance to looking at modern and contemporary art. All of that adds up to a pretty good case for the coolness of the UMFA, and for welcoming the UMFA into your life.

Maybe you’ve noticed the tag line on our blog that reads “5000 Years of Human Creativity.” What does that mean? It means that the UMFA is home to objects from all over the world, and across human history. It means that the UMFA houses what 5000 years of cool people have been making, wearing, and thinking about. 

Coclé, necklace with double bat effigies

Cool style! Coclé, necklace with double bat effigies

The UMFA is not a static place: even if you visit regularly, something new will likely be out on view the next time you come. We are a place of change, but also a place where you can come to witness how humans have changed–or, perhaps in even more cases, remained the same– over the last 5000 years.

The UMFA is also a great place to escape a busy or hectic life: duck in alone or with a friend, come pass a little time between classes (free for students!), and let the calm air of our galleries provide a haven. Based on my experience, I’d be willing to bet that your day will instantly get better.

vase; neolithic;  4000BCE-1500BCE

History is cool! vase; neolithic; 4000BCE-1500BCE

The UMFA is eager to welcome you into our galleries, and we also want you to visit for one of our outstanding events: an artist talk, an art opening, a film, a music event, or one of our many (many!) fun events that are perfect for families. It is during this time that the museum may most surprise you: the galleries are lively places of conversation and laughter, of interesting dialogue and a chance to learn something new. The stereotype of a quiet, boring museum is replaced by this active community center.

Tibetan, 17th Century, Bodhisattva

Global perspectives are cool!  Tibetan, 17th Century, Bodhisattva

If you let it, the UMFA will surprise you: we have an incredible, ever-changing collection of (5000 years of human creativity!) art on display, and there are often interactive stations and chances for visitor participation (stay tuned for our upcoming exhibition, Drawing Lab, as the perfect example of this). 

April flew by, and Museum Myth Monday is now coming to a close. I hope you’ve enjoyed this series, that maybe it’s done some good to dispel some of the myths surrounding museums. It is my belief that museums should not be intimidating places, but rather somewhere everyone feels comfortable and at home.

Tell us below: What would a perfect day at the museum look like for you?

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