Interacting with the public on a daily basis can be a pleasure or a pain. So much of the pain side of things could be eliminated if more people practiced a little courtesy and consideration. Recently I decided to attempt to define proper museum behavior. Below is the list* that emerged from my exasperation--
Top Ten Ways to Not be a Pain in a Museum Educator's Ass:
10. Do not stand in front of someone in a wheelchair. Just because someone is in a wheelchair does not mean he or she is a piece of furniture.
9. Do not assume your speaker is a docent volunteer or a student.
8. Do not ask the speaker, "So, is this a good tour?"
7. Do not interrupt or ask a question in an attempt to show the group what you think you know. We are not interested in contests and will be happy to simply take your word for it that you know everything.
6. Do not arrive late and then ask for a recap when the speaker asks if there are any questions.
5. Do not ask about other objects in the gallery when they have nothing to do with the subject of the conversation.
4. DO NOT TOUCH.
3. DO NOT TOUCH THE EDUCATOR.
2. If you are listening to an educator in the galleries, listen--do not stick your nose in a label and read. Chances are the educator knows more than the label does.
1. DO say thank you when the tour ends.
Keep in mind this is only the top ten--but it will get you off to a good start.
*With thanks to my colleague, Kristen, who helped me decide which items truly belong in the top ten. The sarcasm, alas, is all mine.