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I’m on sabbatical this year and plan on spending three to four days for the next four months at the Art Institute of Chicago. I want to interview people about their experiences, observe people looking at art, learn more about the museum (its history, its mission, the people who work there including guards and custodial staff), and do some investigating into certain paintings. At the same time I’m reading art theory, appreciation, and criticism (see the bibliography) and welcome any suggestions you might have. In the end I hope to write a book, kind of a travel memoir of a stationary trip. Each chapter will touch on a different aspect of art and will be a non-academic book that can be used as a tool for readers who wish to get more out of their museum experience. This blog isn’t the book but a journal so to speak of my experience, as well as a sounding board for ideas and subjects that interest me. It is also an attempt to get input and advice from the likes of you! Thanks.



  1. This is fantastic project. I wonder how the museum as a structure itself affects our interpretation or simply our experience of art.

  2. Oh, I like the thought above. How does the architecture affect our feeling about the art within? As a child (10-12yrs) I took art lessons at
    AIC every Saturday. My brother, three years younger, accompanied me each week to swim at my uncle’s club across the street. After that, we would roam the galleries and comment on what we saw. Inevitably we came to have favorites which we would visit often. Guards did not follow us, frowning, to make sure we did not touch anything (I had been taught by my mother long before that, not to touch the art). There was no charge to enter, nor was there membership; the AIC just belonged to the public. It was a very welcoming atmosphere and in the winter, also gave us opportunity to stave off the certainty
    of having to go out onto windy, cold Michigan Avenue.

  3. Vicky,

    It’s Trish from the knitting shop. I’m so glad you told me about this blog. I’ve never truly enjoyed museums but I’m hoping to get more out of my visits with your tips. Any recommendations for taking kids to museums?

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