For museum lovers, there are plenty of tours you can sign up with or docents who will take you around and you'll get a brief overview of the best-of collection that any museum has to offer. But one thing that Museum Hack boasts that no one else does is the lighthearted feeling along the way, as if the museum has been transformed into a glorious and wondrous funhouse.
Each tour is different from the next. Not only in the range of tours listed for different museums in a host of cities, but also in the delivery and messaging the tour guide expresses. On my recent tour of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, I recognized that my guide was singling out a dozen or so pieces that spoke to her, whether artistically or historically, and that if I did the same tour with someone else on a different day, I'd learn about a completely different selection. The passion, enthusiasm, and authenticity of each guide comes across in how they speak about the art. Here's a rundown of five things that Museum Hack provides that make it a one-of-a-kind educational and entertaining experience:
1. In addition to gained knowledge about certain works of art, there's also set aside plenty of time in the two hours to explore the area. Our group was assigned to pick out our favorite pieces, and to show them off at the end, to keep us engaged while we combed through exhibitions.
2. Museum Hack accepts that it would be impossible to cover everything in one afternoon, and there's no point in trying. By highlighting a small number of the weirder pieces with interesting stories, and getting the visitors to learn and care about those, the guides are further encouraging people to stick around afterward and to learn more.
3. They keep art relatable. For many of us, art can escape us. But Museum Hack is committed to make the pictures and statues come alive in new ways. For instance, on my tour, I would have glossed right over Gustave Courbet's Jo, La Belle Irlandaise, however with the right backstory, this picture stands out as a beauty.
4. Their outsider perspective makes you feel more comfortable and aware. Because the group is not affiliated with the museum, the guides can be more curious and critical of the decisions of curators when they put together exhibitions and wrote captions for the walls. Some of the best moments of the tour came when our guide told us she disagreed with placements and summaries.
5. They encourage debate. I've never been so enthralled by a piece I didn't expect to like than PixCell-Deer#24. Without the guide, I would have glided right by it. But thanks to our guide, and her imaginative ways to get us to consider what we were looking at and why, I wound up thinking about art in a more enlightened way than I ever have before. It was more than a positive experience -- it left me with a ton to think about and research more.