This weekend I caught a flight to Philadelphia to see the Opera Company of Philadelphia’s performance of Otello. I had waited to long to book the flight, so I had three hours of free time on Sunday morning before the Opera started. I took advantage of this extra time to visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Given the size of the Museum and my three extra hours I figured I could get a great preview of the collection and I could use the time to plan my next visit and go back in November when I am back in town for the Dave Mathews Band Concert.
It is common knowledge that I love art museums so at this point everyone must be saying; “yeah, Rob is happy he had three hours to spend in a museum”, and while this was visit was different and at times fun, it was anything but typical. My first stop was the Yokohama Prints. What a great exhibit and the time spent was fun, but I was totally unprepared for what happened next. The museum employees became part of the exhibit; discussions of weight, diet, lunch breaks and more, all in loud tones which the museum acoustics helped carry throughout the exhibits. I shrugged my shoulders and decided to join into the conversation. I figured they had just opened and I was the first visitor of the day and it should be noted that the staff was extremely pleasant and asked me if I needed any assistance.
The next exhibit I visited had a employee sleeping lightly on a bench, must have been a good Saturday night, and man I need a government job! By now the museum was teaming with activity as more and more visitors started filling the galleries. This is when it got odd, the employees started prancing. The more that there was an audience of visitors the louder the staff got, from discussions of breaks, lunch, the crowd or what happened on Saturday night. I mention this because it was so odd and it was a great distraction. When looking at European art the one thing you are usually not prepared to consider is how to tune out the staff or do as I did, join in on the conversation! I joined the museum so I will be going back, this time I will consider packing earplugs! There are many good works to see in the museum, you might want to bring earplugs or the willingness to join into the staff conversation.