Is it possible to have a phobia of Art Galleries and if so, is it treatable?
Absolutely, and if you have it, you are not alone!
The fear of art galleries is called 'museumphobia' and it is characterized by an intense and irrational fear of art galleries. Someone with museumphobia may experience anxiety, panic attacks, or other physical symptoms when they are in or around art galleries. If someone is experiencing museumphobia, it is important to seek professional help and a mental health professional can help manage symptoms and develop strategies to overcome their fear.
Here are some of the most common symptoms that someone may be suffering from museumphobia:
Staring through each window in turn, nose pressed against the glass
Standing at an open door, browsing the walls, without so much as a toe inside
Squinting to read the label of distant artwork
Shading eyes with a hand to reduce glare
Calling a partner or friend over to join in the above
Only entering if others are browsing inside
Hurriedly scurrying away into the safety of a wine bar at the first sign of eye contact from inside
Here are just a few of the most common misbeliefs that cause museumphobia:
I don't understand Art
If the staff asks me a question about Art, I won't able to answer and they will think I'm stupid
I can't afford Art
In order to allow someone to enter the gallery safely and thus help alleviate the above symptoms, gallery staff must not engage in any of the following high-pressure 'market trader' style practices under any circumstances!:
Gesture inwards with welcoming hand or finger motions
Shout or speak welcoming remarks
Attempt to make eye contact
And if someone does venture in, politely test the water with something harmless such as 'If you need any help, please let me know...', before engaging in any form of conversation!