The Museum Etiquette Guide: How to NOT Get Thrown Out

It is possible that at some point you almost got escorted out of a museum or gallery because of behavior you didn’t even know was problematic.

Today you’ll come to know some of the unspoken, and pretty clearly spoken, rules of visiting a museum. Doing any of the following will most definitely result in strict actions from the museum authorities.

You Will Get Kicked Out If You Do These 10 Activities at the Museum

1. Laying Your Hands on the Artifacts

Please appreciate the beauty from afar, and ask your kids to do the same.

Museums house multimillion-dollar artworks. These are unique pieces of work, the likes of which don’t exist anywhere else in the world. Once ruined, they cannot be replaced.

Most of these artifacts are also centuries old. Experts handle them with extreme care, so to say that they are fragile would be putting it mildly.

Here are some measures you should take:

  • Don’t cross the rope or barrier. Even if there isn’t one, keep a minimum distance of one meter (about three feet) between yourself and the artifacts. This eliminates the chances of accidental bumping.
  • Keep an eye on your kids. Make sure they are not tampering with the artworks or climbing the exhibits.
  • Follow the rules. If you are visiting an interactive museum, you can participate in the exhibitions according to the guidelines provided.

Remember, damaging an artifact can be considered a crime. You will not just be thrown out, you might also be heavily fined.

2. Showing Up With Hefty Baggage

If you have just landed, check-in at the hotel, not at the museum.

Heavy luggage in a museum is inappropriate, to say the least. A hefty suitcase rolling down the museum corridor is disturbing to people who are contemplating artwork.

A huge backpack is not appropriate either. It is likely to block others’ views of the artwork, and when you move about with a huge travel bag, you might unconsciously hit someone or block their path.

Hefty baggage takes up too much space, and is often not allowed in museums. You shouldn’t be surprised if the guard doesn’t let you past the entrance.

If you’ve got heavy luggage:

  • Keep your bags at the hotel. If you have already checked out, ask if they can hold your bags for a few hours.
  • Store it at the airport locker if you have the option.
  • Some museums provide lockers to store your items.

3. Bringing In Food and Drinks

Food and drinks are not allowed inside. Sneaking in something to munch or slurp on is a serious offense.

It is distracting for other visitors, and you’ll risk littering the place with crumbs or an accidental spill. You also risk potentially damaging the artifacts.

Even candy or gum isn’t allowed inside. People tend to stick gum onto clean surfaces or undersides of tables. A piece of gum stuck to irreplaceable artwork is undesirable.

So, do your eating and drinking before or after visiting the museum. Otherwise, take a short break in between. The museum might even have a café for this very purpose.

Most importantly, don’t even think of smoking inside. Nothing will get you kicked out faster.

4. Flash Photography (Or Photography in General)

Most museums and places of cultural heritage ban photography. Even those that don’t have a rule against taking pictures will prohibit use of the flash.

Flash photography is considered to be detrimental to the pigment in old paintings. Prolonged exposure to high-intensity light is harmful. It is rude and disruptive as well.

In the case of museums where photography is allowed, you should take heed of the specific guidelines. Here are few points to keep in mind:

  • Take a quick snap and go. Don’t block the artwork for too long.
  • Never approach an exhibit too closely for a good picture. Accidents are always possible.
  • If you are posing for a selfie, do so quickly so that you do not disrupt the flow of traffic, or block the artwork for others to see.

If you are too immersed in capturing everything on your camera, very little will be captured in your brain. Try to enjoy the experience.

5. Raising Your Voice

Museums work like libraries. People around you are trying to concentrate and contemplate, so making loud noises is disrespectful.

It is not a place to start laughing, gossiping, or yelling. If you have a child who is likely to scream or cry, refrain from bringing them to a museum. Neither you nor others will be able to enjoy the experience.

Museums have little sound other than people’s footsteps, so avoid talking altogether. If you need to convey something important, speak in hushed tones.

6. Running Haphazardly

Museums are not playgrounds. Act accordingly.

Make sure your children know how to behave. It only takes seconds to knock over a priceless sculpture or vase, but the fine for it can run into millions of dollars.

As an adult, don’t visit the museum if you’re in a rush. Running about to catch a glimpse of every art installation does you no good. You can’t take in the gravity of each piece like that, but you will endanger the art for sure.

Running about is also rude to other visitors. You could push someone and they might fall over. Be responsible and stroll through the place at a reasonable pace.

7. Overcrowding Artwork

A masterpiece is not for your eyes alone. It is for everyone.

Overcrowding artwork means blocking it from other people. Everyone should get a chance to view the art.

Here are some ways you can avoid overcrowding:

  • If you see a crowd forming in front of a piece, don’t add to it. Look around and come back later, or wait your turn by the side.
  • When you are looking at an artwork that is very attractive to visitors, move quickly. Don’t stand there for ages, because it is rude to keep other people waiting.
  • Always be cautious, and step back when you see a crowd forming.
  • Never shove others just to get a peek. This is rude. and can cause someone to fall and damage artwork.

8. Taking a Phone Call

No one at a museum wants to hear you chat with your friend over the phone.

Everyone can hear your private conversation clearly at such a silent place. Even a ringing phone is disruptive, so make sure that your phone is always on silent mode inside museums and galleries.

If it is something urgent, take the call outside to the lobby, café, or parking lot. Otherwise, you can communicate over text.

9. Public Displays of Affection (PDA)

The museum might be an enclosed space, but it is not private.

Visitors are there to see the artwork, not you canoodling with your partner. So, keep your hands to yourself.

Don’t distract and offend people with your inappropriate conduct. Holding hands is fine, but you should know where to draw the line.

10. Leaning on the Walls or Sitting on a Ledge

Yes, a museum is vast, and it is tiring to walk so much.

You shouldn’t be leaning on a nicely painted wall, nor should you sit on a ledge and risk an accident.

Find a nearby bench or chair and sit for a while.

That is some of the basic museum etiquette that you need to know. If you follow our advice, you’ll be the most prim-and-proper visitor in the room. Do your best to follow the rules and appreciate the art.

Preparing for a Day at the Museum

If you’re getting ready to spend a day looking at priceless works, there are a few steps you should take first to ensure you (and everyone else) can enjoy the experience.

  1. First and foremost, make sure you buy travel insurance or travel medical insurance before your trip abroad. Museums are full of stairs, slick floors, and crowds. If you get sick or injured in a foreign country, an international insurance plan is essential to protect your finances from high treatment costs.
  2. Wear appropriate shoes. Museum floors are often slick and polished. Leave your heels or slides at the hotel. They won’t provide enough grip, and the noise from hard soles can be distracting to other visitors. Wear comfortable sneakers with grippy rubber soles instead.
  3. Abstain from alcohol. If you’re going to hit the bar or pub, do it after you visit the museum. No one likes dealing with an inebriated museum-goer, and you’re much more likely to cause damage when under the influence.
  4. Pick the right time. Don’t go by what your guidebook says and get to the museum first thing when it opens. Thousands of other who have the same guidebook will be doing the same thing. Instead, choose to visit in the middle of a weekday, when museums are typically less crowded.
  5. Don’t force your travel companion to come. If you’re fascinated with Egyptian artifacts, but your travel companion couldn’t care less, suggest splitting up for a while. Let them go off and take part in an activity that they enjoy. This way, you won’t feel pressured to rush your way through exhibits.    

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?


For visitors, travel, student and other international travel medical insurance.

Visit or call +1 (866) INSUBUY or +1 (972) 985-4400