There is something about the silence, the slow walking, the pacing security officers and endless hallways in many museums that repel children. Still working on acquiring the virtue of patience, most cannot understand the solitary intimacy of having a relationship with a painting, sculpture, artifact or any other inanimate mass of material.

My own relationship with museums followed a predictable series of phases. Before the age of seven or so, it was torture. I did not realize my fortune growing up in New York City, rich with craft, a museum itself of world-wide art. A fieldtrip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art did little to capture my interest. Guided worksheets and treasure hunts at the Brooklyn Museum were motivated mainly by a race to the free chocolate milk at lunchtime.

The next turning point I can remember was my two-week family vacation to Sicily during December of 2004 — I was eight. We rented a car and traveled through four cities, living out my parents’ guidebook fantasies. Of course, this turned out to be an average of three museums or historical sites a day. I have to believe this would be tiring for anyone.

I whined, I cried, I complained about the “rock piles” we drove miles to see, rock piles like the Temple of Concord in Agrigento which appeared later in my textbooks and lecture slides. I was a buzzkill. That being said, despite my nagging and with some time, some of the things began to gain a little allure.

Jewelry over a thousand years old, vases with strange paintings on the side, cooking tools. My imagination was stronger than my patience, and I had begun to see the fun in dreaming about the past. I tap-danced in a theater at Taormina with hundreds of imaginary patrons watching on.

By the time I had studied Ancient Rome in sixth grade, and took our next big vacation there the same year, I had abandoned the complaints. It was amazing: I asked questions, read the tour books and stayed with the artwork. Three years later, I spent 15 minutes with a painting in Paris by Hieronymus Bosch, a fifteenth century painter from the Netherlands, known for his intricate, fantastical and frighteningly bizarre work.

By the end of high school, I occasionally used off days to explore New York’s famous museums I had neglected as a child.

In my English class about Horror, an extra credit assignment was offered to check out several paintings at UMMA, a collection specifically put together for our course. In a class of about 35, I’d say no more than five made the trip. And I have to admit, without a good excuse, myself included.

What does this say about my generation’s appreciation for museums? It seems as though our childhood aversions are hard to overcome in our later years. Let’s be honest, we’re hardly able to sit through movies anymore without the pausing and starting again. What do we expect from any millennials left with two hours and no cell phone in the UMMA?

Though this may appear to be an overly cynical concern, it is one worth considering. How can we change this trajectory? How can this kind of learning be introduced into classes? An appreciation for museums ensures that learning doesn’t stop the second the class period ends, when we graduate from college or after we get a job. There is always more to be seen, more histories to be opened up, more piles of rock to stand on. And it certainly does not need to involve travel or spending.

I’m no expert: I have no exceptional interpretative abilities, knowledge of art history, or special artistic talents myself (my brother the architect got them). But I do have curiosity, I have imagination and, regardless of my patience, I have appreciation. These faculties aren’t so hard to come by. So go explore, take a trip to the museum and see what you can do without a hand dragging you along.

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