Another one of "things I overheard while visiting Charles I: King and Collector.
The Allocution of Alfonso d’Avalos to His Troops, 1540-41.
Oil on canvas. 223 x 165 cm. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, inv. P00417. Photo © Museo Nacional del Prado.
To provide a bit of context, the area at the bottom of a set of stairs was often used to leave pushchairs, rather than walking to the lift and using the lift, or taking the pushchairs upstairs.
This not only blocked a fire escape (to the degree that some people would "tuck out of the way", actually inside the alcove of the fire escape door) but also presented a safety risk (leaving unattended, unidentified bags in a busy public venue) a "we're not responsible for your stuff being nicked" risk, and sometimes prevented people accessing art and exhibition panels when they were mounted on the walls in this space.
Signs were either willfully or obliviously ignored, often with minor panic when people were then informed that their pushchair was now relocated, to a safe place, outside the building.
“But we’ll be travelling all the way from X to do this? Can’t you squeeze us in for it? How much difference would three people really make?”
Ah, we have reached the “I failed to plan ahead for the summer school holidays, and now my children are about to be disappointed by not getting to do something they want to do, so I’m going to somehow blame you” stage of the summer break.
Here’s my caring face:
I REALLY hope this is a legitimate TFL sign.
Fist spotted and posted by https://www.facebook.com/mymuseumlife/
This story sumbitted, and a bit hard to render as a cartoon due to conversational content. Thanks for sending it in Pete!
A phone call to the museum's polite reception desk, in December:
Customer: "Hi, we're planning our family holiday for July. Can you tell me what activities you'll have on what days? We want to book a week while the hotel is still cheap, and our son really enjoyed the event he came to in the summer."
Staff: "We have some things pencilled in for July, but they won't be announced until March, when we have all the details like performers and artists confirmed. We don't like to announce things until we know it's all booked in, or it can dissapoint people."
Customer: "If you can just tell me what's pencilled in, that'll be fine."
Staff: "I can, as long as you realise that these events may change. If you book your hotel now based on a certain date, an event probabaly will happen that day, but perhaps not the one I tell you now. Also, sometimes our smaller events sell out or book up within a day of being announced, so there's no guarantee of your son getting a ticket or place, unless you're fast!"
Customer: "So you can tell me a date, for an unknown event, for which my son may not get a ticket? What's the use of that?!"
Staff: "You are planning much further ahead than most of our visitors, so I can only be honest about the information I have available to me at the moment."
According to Pete "The customer we still unhappy, despite receptionist being willing to give details well in advance of public announcement, and [the customer] said that the more money they had to spend on booking a hotel later, the less they would spend at the musuem, and it would be her son and us that would suffer"
On the one hand, kudos to a customer planning ahead rather than the usual "What do you mean my child can't attend this sold out event tomorrow? I prromised them already!". On the other hand, one should probabaly not get angry with someone trying to help you, to the best of their ability, while ensuriung you are aware of potential issues with the information they are giving you.
The Natural History Museum in London had a large family pleasing exhibition on mammoths a while ago.
In the summer school holidays visitors had a long queue to enter the building, and then another queue to enter the paid exhibition.
It was a bit of a surprise to find a stunningly unhappy bored looking child, whose parent had endured the entire thing and forced them to do so to, on the assumption that it was some kind of "sit down and watch the entertainment" type activity.
When told it was an exhibition, very exciting ancient things to see, they just left.
I’m not saying that these wouldn’t happen at other times of the year, just that they certainly happened during the school summer break at our museum.
More museum holiday fun? Find out what I've overheard in the holidays here.
You may notice I have been lax on cartoons, well, that’s because in the museum we’ve either been busy planning displays and creating displays, or it’s been school holidays…
As we have been full of kids these past few weeks, have a couple of overheard gems!
Child of about 12 pointing into a display cabinet “Mum, Can you buy me this? Not one from the gift shop. But this one? This one right here?”
Lady on phone “Ok, I’m a bit bored, but damn, with the cake they have in the café I’d bring the brats here every day and eat cake. They want to do football camp though. And I don't get free WiFi in a field.”
Two teenage boys are arguing quietly but heatedly “There is no point googling it! Do you really think that Wikipedia will have a different answer to the one the museum people wrote?!”
Exasperated dad “Weeks ago I told you we were coming here on the way from grandma’s. I told you a few days ago we were coming here on the way from grandma’s. When we left grandma’s I told you we were coming here. So you have had AMPLE opportunity to ask to visit Twycross Zoo instead.”
The Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle is a fantastic place, both in terms of content and interpretation - owing much of it's humour to it's founder, Cecil Williamson.
While researching images for signage at my current workplace, this image turned up from the Museum of Witchcraft blog here.
(It is no longer in public use, rather displayed in a corridor of their private library)
Although displaying an attitude you're unlikely to find advised in interpretation and exhibit labeling textbooks or courses, it sums up in a splendid way the conflict many of us may encounter in museums, and especially galleries staging controversial exhibitions - "If you thought it may be unsuitable for your children - WHY DID YOU BRING THEM IN HERE WITHOUT SCOPING IT OUT OR ASKING QUESTIONS FIRST?!!?"
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