Social Etiquette and Good Manners/Museum visit


upon entering a room where other people are present one should greet them, that is basic.
How about when visiting a museum and there is an attendant in almost every room? I find it rude to walk past them just plainly ignoring their presence like most people do, especially if the museum is not crowded at all.
Would it be appropriate to say hello?

Dear Anne:  Thank you for sharing your question with me.

It is very kind and thoughtful of you to have concern for the museum staff who serve us all. I think the best plan of action is to smile and make eye contact with the attendants as you enter each room of the museum, unless you or they are in another conversation or focused on something else at the time. Based on the body language of the attendant, you can then determine if a "Good Morning" or "Good Afternoon" is an appropriate and timely addition to your facial acknowledgment.

In most cases, an attendant is not there to chat with visitors, but to provide basic information about the facility and to guard the goods. They are not insulted when they are not greeted, but I am certain that it is a pleasant and much appreciated moment in their day when they are.

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Nancy Mitchell


Social etiquette; Business etiquette; Entertaining etiquette; Wedding etiquette; Protocol, domestic (US) and international; Flag etiquette; Dining etiquette; Restaurant etiquette; Spa etiquette; Travel etiquette


Nancy R. Mitchell is a nationally recognized etiquette and protocol consultant and trainer with more than 30 years of experience in the field. She owns the firm The Etiquette Advocate and is an owner and founding partner of the firm Protocol Partners-Washington Center for Protocol. Currently, she is an adjunct faculty member at The George Washington University, where she developed and teaches protocol courses in the School of Business and the Career Center, and at Stratford University, Falls Church, VA. She serves also as protocol and special events consultant to the Library of Congress, the world’s largest library and cultural center. For 23 years, Mitchell was director of special events and protocol at the Library of Congress where she and her staff were responsible for planning and managing over 400 events each year. She coordinated the institution’s major special events, visits of heads of state and other distinguished visitors, galas, conferences and meetings. As the Library’s chief protocol advisor, Mitchell served as liaison to the White House, U.S Department of State, the Congress, the Supreme Court and other government agencies, embassies, academia and corporations.

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Mitchell is quoted on matters of etiquette and protocol by CNN, ABC Nightline, Martha Stewart Living Radio, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Washington Business Journal, the Associated Press and Washingtonian magazine, has been featured on ABC Good Morning America, Fox News and National Public Radio, and is an etiquette columnist for, etiquette consultant to Alexandria Woman and to Engaged! magazine, and technical editor of Wedding Etiquette for Dummies (Wiley, 2010).

B.S., University of Utah, 1969

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