Museum Etiquette



As a history major and a history nerd I absolutely love museums. They are the non negotiable stops while traveling and a favorite suggestion as an addition to a girls weekend.

Mamma May is very big on etiquette and exhibiting proper behavior so it is no surprise that from a young age we knew exactly how to behave in places like museums, art galleries and nice restaurants. I took these lessons for granted and finally this year while standing in the Louvre ready to punch a fellow tourist in the back of the head I realized that maybe not everyone has had the strict training that we had growing up and have not been taught how to behave in certain situations or places.



Treat museums like you would a library. Keep your voice down, stage whispering doesn’t count. You are supposed to be absorbing culture and gaining new appreciations, major socializing and partying can wait. If you really really love to go wild in museums some do have evening events with food and DJs.

No Phone Calls

This goes along with #1 but apparently this needs to be said as well. If it’s urgent find an empty hallway or washroom corridor.  But try to remember that you are at a Museum for a reason, whether it’s to see a famous artifact quickly while on a tour or if it’s a nice quiet afternoon event try to disconnect and enjoy yourself.


I can’t believe I actually have to explain this but seriously, After watching a twenty something North American girl practically climb on a statue at the Louvre I believe this is necessary to say. Dont. Touch. Anything.

I should mention this  rule goes for the other patrons as well. These artifacts have been around usually for hundreds of years, they aren’t going anywhere any time soon so stay calm, wait your turn and don’t push people.  

Stand Back

Now this one technically isn’t an ‘unspoken’ rule per se but to me it just makes sense. Look at it rationally… if you stand directly in front of an artifact maybe one other person could stand near you and get an unblocked view, now take a step back, maybe another person could join, take another step back… you see where I’m going with this? I know for some smaller pieces yes you must be close and if the museum isn’t busy then hog away but take a look at your surroundings and be considerate of the rest of the patrons

Children should not get preferential treatment

Unless you are at a museum or section of a museum specifically catered towards children, but then most of these rules wouldn’t apply anyway!. I cannot count the number of times I have been physically pushed aside by a parent so their 4 year old could see something. Don’t get me wrong I think it’s wonderful that people expose their children to culture early on in their lives but children also need to learn to take turns and wait patiently. Everyone paid their money and want to be there as much as your family does so respect each other and try to understand that not everyone sees your child as a darling little angel.

Treat Memorials and Monuments with the utmost respect

If you’re at a museum chances are a memorial or monument are close by on your to do list so I figured I would group it in. Memorials and Monuments are symbols of history. It may not be ‘your’ history but they are important to individuals, cultures and ethnic groups. This is not the time to take your ‘silly’ group photo or take a picture of your mediocre yoga poses.

Well there you have it. A beginners guide to how to behave in a museum or memorial. I’d love to hear your rants or if there are any rules or pet peeves you’d like to add?

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