Five Best Summer Museum Visit Tips

Summer is in full swing!

The days are getting humid, we're all moving a bit slower than usual, and anywhere that can offer refuge from the blazing sun is a welcome respite.

Aside from a breezy rooftop bar or patio, I suggest you treat yourself to the cool indoors of a gallery.

Here are my top 5 tips for visiting museums in summer!

1. Take Advantage of Evening Events

Museums are quite crafty these days and besides often showcasing glorious courtyards and open-air spaces, they frequently increase the number of reasons to visit in the warmer months. Whether by extending hours on Thursday or Friday nights, or popping additional events onto the calendar, check out your local museum's website to see if they're offering something special on a summer's eve that you and a few friends can enjoy!

If you happen to be in Boston look out for the Gardner Museum's Third Thursdays or Neighborhood Nights, Summer Fridays at the ICA, or Concerts in the Courtyard at the MFA, among others!

2. Give Yourself Extra Time

I'm of course not a fan of rushing through a gallery in general, but I really want to emphasize this. Take a slow evening or afternoon to enjoy being in the gallery. Wander from room to room and every half hour or so duck out of the gallery to the museum's sunny patio or courtyard to chat about your favorites with your museum buddy. With the heat and humidity urging you to stay inside and the AC cranking within museums to protect the art you'll probably want to warm up now and then anyways. Which brings me to the next few tips...

3. Walk Through the Outdoor Art

Do a bit of research to find a place near you that has beautiful grounds and gardens. Maybe make a lovely little day trip of it! Being that it's summer and you're meant to be outside (more on this mindset below), what better way to enjoy some culture than in the outdoors! Is there an old Rockefeller mansion, war memorial, or botanical gardens near you? Bask in the sunlight outside while learning some bits of history and don't rush through it all. I hear picnic lunches make for a great way to enjoy the grounds of an estate or arboretum.

4. Don't Feel Guilty Being Inside

Don't feel guilty for spending a few hours inside when the sun is shining. We all need a break from the heat and having quiet, reflective time inside a museum will give you a renewed appreciation for the outdoors. You'll probably walk by a painting or two that could be a depiction of the glorious summer day beyond the museum walls! Take this as your official permission to not feel guilty for spending a few hours in a cool museum — besides, the sunlight will illuminate the artworks you're perusing and give them a whole new life!

5. Bring a Sweater

Joking a bit with this one, but museums do get cold and their temperature-controlled rooms are tens of degrees lower than when you visit in the winter! Take it from someone who is constantly cold — the shorts and tank or breezy maxi dress you'd typically sport on a summer day will soon be regretted once you've been inside the gallery for a few minutes. Grab a sweater, pashmina, or jacket and settle in to the artwork. When you're comfortable — you'll have a much better time!

(Full disclosure this was taken in Milan in February — I doubt you'll need a wool cloak like this in the summer, but who knows!)

I had to condense all of my thoughts into these top five — what would you add to the list? Where's your favorite museum to visit in summer?

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