Small museums are some of my favorite places to visit. Don’t get me wrong, I love almost all museums and historic sites, however large. There is just something special about the smaller museums, something more intimate and personal. The best part of such a museum is the ability to make personal connections – with the history, with the staff, and with other visitors. They have so much to offer but are often overlooked.
Since these museums are smaller both in staff and physical space, they usually have a narrower focus and a more specific vision. This can sometimes be seen as a drawback, but I generally think of it as an advantage. The narrow scope allows visitors to fully dive in and explore a certain subject, and even foster a closer connection and understanding. You get to investigate and discover lots of interesting and possibly obscure information that bigger institutions don’t have the time or space to cover.
Another way small museums provide a more profound and special experience is through the staff. Usually, small museums employ minimal staff, so everyone generally knows about the materials on display. They decided what and why to put things up for visitors, they can tell you more personal information about the artifacts or photographs or people. In large museums, you can find many specialists who know a lot about one specific item or time period. At smaller places, though, you can find staff who can piece all the information together into one cohesive message or timeline.
There is usually a more welcoming and personal atmosphere at small museums too, which can help you connect not just to the material and staff, but also to whoever you came there with. Instead of a vast museum, where you might feel pressured to go quickly and not truly enjoy yourself, small museums feel like a cozy home where you can spend hours with your friends, appreciating whatever it has in store. That, to me, is the best part.