All other exhibits in the museum can wait.
As can the teacher.
I doubt that when using her own clothing to illustrate a part of the session, the education lady expected to get 'zinged' by a child of about 6.
When working with children, always think for a second "How could they respond to this in a way which is rude, silly, bewildering or insulting?" Then accept that there are many things they will say which you will never be able to mentally prepare for, and learn how to maintain a pleasant but firm demeanor no matter what happens.
Few things can shake your soul like a child of six staring you straight in the face, with the clear conviction that they purposefully and maliciously intend to derail your entire education or creative session. And the whimpering knowledge that one way or another, they will succeed.
Although they won’t charge for entry, new rules from the British Museum mean that tour groups of more than ten people must give a week’s notice as to when they wish to visit, or they may be turned away from entering the Museum, or certain galleries. Read more about it here (the basis for this blog post).
Given that tour operators make a profit from guiding people around the free museum - hurrah - as in some areas it can get very uncomfortable even when not at peak weekend times, so these people who benefit from bringing the tours should be more carefully controlled.
In a warning to tour operators, the museum said that those who failed to book an hourly slot, stating which part of the vast collections they wished to visit, “may be denied immediate entry”. In a message on its website, it continued: “This new policy is due to the significant increase in tour group visitors to the Museum and is intended to make the visitor experience more pleasant for all visitors.”
There has been some confusion and misreporting, believing that the British Museum wishes to charge large tour groups and/or foreign tourists for visiting. (Guardian and Daily Mail articles) A spokeswoman for the museum said “There are no plans under consideration for charging tour operators. The trustees remain absolutely committed to free entry for all.”
News appeared on that LEGO didn't want to be involved with Ai Weiwei's upcoming art installation, because they explained that "The motive(s) cannot contain any political, religious, racist, obscene or defaming statements."
So now museums and galleries have started collecting donated LEGO for him to use instead - in second hand cars.
A fair point is made that Lego are in a powerful position to make statements on a global scale, influencing the minds of children and parents, so they should perhaps be using that power for positive statements. From a personal point of view, I think that Lego are within their rights to treat with extreme caution the use of their products, as selling them in bulk to the artist may be seen as endorsing his work and opinions. They presumably have a lot of people request using their product in their work, and when aware of these projects, they have a choice - allow everyone to buy it and do what they like with it, or limit its use and try to restrict it to the sort of 'neutral' projects that won't impact on the brand negatively. Tough call, especially when your product is predominately associated with children.
Lego can't stop people donating Lego, nor Ai Weiwei making anything from it (as long as he stays within their guidelines about associating him with the project) so he's "decided to make a new work to defend freedom of speech and "political art".
Ai Weiwei's Instagram feed has become a fun account of people filling the donation vehicles via their sunroofs.
If you want to donate, there's a point at the Royal Academy, London, although there are increasingly donation sites worldwide. Donations can also be posted to a range of venues worldwide.
Find out about the Royal Academy donation point here.
Webcomic and occasional blog about the heritage sector.
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