I never really had an "Egyptology" stage as a kid, despite always being interested in history and archaeology, but I certainly understand why it has an enduring mass appeal.
A few weeks ago I went to the Tutankamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh exhibition at Saachi Gallery, because my travelling companion wanted a gander, and I figured that it would be interesting to see some very unique items, and also to see how the exhibition itself measured to the hype.
Oh there is hype. This is absolutely a "blockbuster" exhibition, proudly trumpeting in it's sales copy the record-breaking volume of visitors in other countries, and stressing the likelihood of tickets selling out.
I decided that rather than try to compile my thoughts into a review afterward (which would mean, realistically, I'd never get round to it), I'd drop a few live tweets to capture my thoughts and feelings as I went round.
Here are the compiled tweets in one spot for you!
The Exhibition continues in London to Sunday 3rd May 2020.
Huge respect to the various arts and crafts events organisers making the most of making things without much to start off with.
When I read about this, I instantly had a flashback to a similar an instance with a teacher and a full class of 30 kids, which I may now be tempted to render in cartoon....
This is absolutely, utterly, not a dig at the many thousands of volunteers without whom so many venues and services wouldn't be able to remain open and functioning.
This is a conglomerate of the tales I have been told where volunteer staffing has increased, and the existing paid staff have suffered with mismanaged hand overs, miscommunication and outright false promises.
Paid staff with years of expertise, experience, stores of knowledge, thousands of pounds of education, seeing their positions packaged into chunks and those chunks handed over to volunteers (some of whom also posses all those qualities, yet can't get paid work) until they are left staffing tills, cleaning, and providing security detail. Paid staff reassuringly told that "we won't be replacing you, you will still have a job!" and slowly finding that their role now only features the tasks that managers can't attract volunteers to.
Yes, many venues need the voluntary help, but it has to be properly, honestly, decently managed.
If you're looking for a small local history museum, perfectly set up to bring in the locals, and inform the casual visitor, by golly Banbury Museum seems to be on form.
I took a short walk along the Oxford canal from Banbury train station, and just as I was starting to mentally grumble at the modern shopping centre unceremoniously dumped beside the canal, I found the museum café entrance. At this point I gave my grumble a quick realign, as there seems to have been a lot of thought put into making the museum an easily reached and enticing prospect for passers by, including the museum gift shop actually being inside the shopping centre. The building being packed with excited families, ambling couples, brunch munching OAPs and tea sipping dog walkers, the intentions seem to work.
Display label is missing from display.
Can't insert head into the cabinet at the right angle to see if it's dropped behind the display plinth.
Use phone to take a photo down the back of the plinth, to find the label is there.
Dob blue tack onto name badge, and use phone camera feed to see where to aim it behind the plinth.
Successfully stick name badge to display label and pull both out.
Replace display label in correct location.
Feel proud of ingenuity.
Realise no-one is around to recognise achievement.
Go and treat self to posh coffee to celebrate.
I'm not a raging Star Wars fan, perhaps a bit more so than the usual bod on the street, so the May The Toys Be With You
exhibition at Leicester museum pricked my attention, and was also a great way to catch up with two Star Wars fans and small child at the same time.
Rather than trying (and inevitably failing) to write a polished review, this is going to be the first of my “Explaining it in a pub” reviews. Essentially, the near stream of consciousness I'd give if you asked me “How was that place you went to? Worth it?”
We were excited as we entered the Exhibition space, the first few cabinets had some familiar and some unusual toys, and quickly made a direct connection to a local manufacturer, which helped the exhibition feel genuinely relevant rather than just a crowd pleaser. We could see there were lots of cabinets, well set out with space for excited kids, plus large decals on the otherwise white walls.
That silence you hear?
That's the blissful silence of a room not full of 11 to 16 year old children.
Because they just ran through half of the museum like a swarm of whooping vermin and are now two rooms away.
Dear teacher, if you have just entered the room and are greeted by blissful silence, that's probably an indicator that your students are in another room.
If your students are in another room, you are no longer accompanying them on their visit.
Now is not the time for you to take a slow and gentle stroll, engrossed in each cabinet's contents.
Please don't look at me like that when I ask you to be in the same room as them.
It's not my fault that you bought a group of howler monkeys into a public space, who glared at me with barely veiled disdain and amusement when I asked them to stop running and shouting, and pointed out all of the glass hazards and other visitors.
Asking your oldest student to make sure the others don't go into the third room is a sort of solution.
Half your students are now accompanied, the other half are now only one room away. Which is an improvement.
Eight students are leaning on a set of doors, obeying "Don't go in that room yet" while also forming an attractive barricade.
There are another couple chasing each other in circles around a glass cabinet.
There's no education session or tour arranged, but trying to get them on board with not just running and yelling is worth a try.
Attempts to engage them in looking at things and taking an interest in anything for more than ten seconds is greeted by sullen silence, or flickering mayfly attention spans accompanied by yelled exclamations, or flat out walking away to annoy each other.
The teacher, now in the room, is vaguely apologetic, and haphazard in any attempt to regain control.
Yes, they are obviously enjoying themselves. But not really in any way I'd describe as positive.
Shouting "That looks like your minger sister! Minger! Minger! Minger!" is, in a way, engaging with the exhibits.
Hang on, those six kids in the cafe... Oh, so they are part of the school group, but were slow eating lunch and the teacher decided they could catch up once finished.
Shall we revisit - If your students are in another room, you are no longer accompanying them on their visit?
Webcomic and occasional blog about the heritage sector.
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