Most people who attend a museum want to leisurely explore and savor the art on exhibit. But in this article, Stephanie Rosenbloom reports that researchers have discovered that the average visitor spends 15 to 30 seconds in front of a painting. A large number of people rush through the museum snapping photos of the most famous masterpieces.

James O. Pawelski, the director of education for the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, states that "you can't really see a painting as you are walking by it." When he takes his students to a gallery, he counsels them to spend at least 20 minutes with a painting that speaks to them in some way. He also suggests that you spend a half an hour wandering and then take another half hour to deepen your connection with one work that stretches your mind or soul. A third activity is to research the museum's collection online and then customize your visit by choosing a theme of special interest to you such as music, horses, or sunsets. A fourth way to make the visit special is to curate your own music soundtrack at home and enjoy it as you stroll slowly through an exhibit; that way you will not be disturbed by the chatter of other people in the gallery.

These four ways to enrich your museum experience are based on viewing art in a contemplative manner. The spiritual practices of attention and being present are essential to a deeper appreciation of art.

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