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In which we go to The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri, and give you some pointers on how to visit an art museum. Seems easy enough, but there are ways to maximize your experience. What are your museum tricks and tips? Let's talk about it in the comments!

Many thanks to The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art for giving us access to their wonderful institution. Their admission is free, but they can only do this because of donations and memberships. So while we joke that you should always find a way to get in for free, you should also consider supporting your local institutions whenever you can and in whatever way you can. This can be through membership, donations, attending events, or volunteering your time. (And if you happen to have an amazing art collection of your own, you should will it to a museum. Really. Your grandchildren won't appreciate it nearly as much as an entire city will for many generations to come.)

Learn more about the Kemper: www.kemperart.org.
And find out ways to support it: https://www.kemperart.org/involved/index.asp.
So today, we're going to talk about how to visit an art museum, which may seem like an easy enough thing to do.    Step 1: Go to museum. Step 2: Look at art. Step 3: Hopefully get something out of the experience.    But the other week when we were filming in Kansas City, Missouri, I paid a visit to the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and started thinking, "It's really not so simple."   If you want to have a really rewarding trip to a museum, there are some tricks.    First wear sensible shoes, because you do not want to stand in front of this gorgeous Helen Frankenthaler painting only thinking about how much your feet hurt.    Also, before you should even go, you should check the museum's website to make sure they're open, and most importantly, to figure out if there's any way that you can get in for free.    If you can get in for free, do. Luckily, the Kemper is always free.    When you check into the front desk, and hopefully find a way not to pay admission, make sure to get a map. This is also a chance to ask the attendant what you shouldn't miss, which brings me to something important.    Ask people questions. It's okay. They actually want you to ask them questions, because otherwise work is boring.   Okay, so some general pointers on how to behave in the galleries.    Assume that you cannot touch anything, unless there are instruction stating otherwise.    This is not because the people running museums are autocrats trying to harshen your buzz. It is because even the oil on your skin can damage the art.    If you're not sure whether you can touch something, ask a guard. They want you to ask; they will be thrilled that you have asked.    Speaking of which, also feel free to ask about the museum's photo policy. Many museums allow photography, so you're surreptitious "I'm just checking an email, no, I'm actually taking a pic of this Warhol," may not actually be necessary.   When I take photos in galleries, I like to also take a pic of the label. It's a good way of remembering later what you saw, and handy when properly attributing your photo when posting it online, which you should never forget to do.    Sometimes, I like to first walk through a show without taking out my camera or even reading labels, just letting my eyes and brain do the work.    Then, I'll go back and take a longer look at works I find interesting or ones I might want to take a pic of or take notes about.    When you watch a video in a museum, make room for others coming in. This means not spreading out your jacket and bag on the only bench and also not lingering in the doorway, when there's plenty of space to hang out inside.    Also, don't be afraid to go into dark galleries. There's good stuff in there and it very rarely bites.   And then there's the actual business of looking at and experiencing the art. There are no rules here.    You decide what you look at and for how long, and whether to read the wall labels offering context, or whether to use the audio guides.    You also decide whether to look at all the galleries or only a few. And all of these decisions should be guided by what's working, what makes you feel emotionally and intellectually engaged.    Is it helpful to know that someone once tried to lick this Wayne Thiebaud painting? Or do you just like the visual pleasure of taking it in?    Like a lot of things in life, what you take from a museum experience is dependent upon what you put into it. I think it's great to go to museums and experience that which you might be skeptical of.    But, mostly I think you should go to museums. They're not cold, dead places where people smarter than you look at ancient art in hushed galleries.    Museums are for you. They are cultural centers where you relationship with the universe can get better and more interesting.    And lastly, perhaps most importantly, don't forget to leave the museum. Staying overnight is frowned upon.    What are you personal do's and don't's for museum-going? And what have your museum experiences been like? Let's talk about it in the comments.