The number one way of enjoying an art museum or gallery is actually going to one. Another way is to take some art classes before going. Why?
When you go to a museum or art gallery, how do you look at the art work? Do you see just a painted image or are you able to see beyond the image? Are you able to discern the techniques involved and how they were applied?
This brings me to the idea of how an art class can help you gain a heightened awareness when looking at artwork thus increasing your enjoyment of it. With an art class you learn about painting techniques, composition and mixing colors to name a few. Thus when you look at art work you will likely discern some of the techniques that the artist employed. Did the artist use transparent glazes, impasto, unique brush or palette knife work or a pleasing color scheme? When you know or understand some of these artistic techniques, you will never look at art the same way again. You’ll be able to see beyond the image and understand a little about the creative process.
In addition to or in lieu of taking an art class, check out some books on painting techniques or if your community has an art club. Often these clubs host artists who give painting demonstrations and many are free! If you like you can also visit my learn to oil paint page which will also give you some ideas.