If a contractor drops a tool during extensive conservation work, and there's a guided hard hat tour near by, does anyone hear it?
See also "Don't practice dance moves with the cleaning brush unless you want security watching the CCTV to pass comment on your form." and "Playing the flute after you have finished cleaning and before the gallery opens to visitors, to make the most of the acoustics, is acceptable only by prior agreement."
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.
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.
Winter nights have drawn in, and many museums and houses are using the dark hours to run dark events - ghost hunts, bat watches, lantern making... So when a photography club emailed an "Elizabethan House" about some night time photography, staff replied to them, willing to help plan an after hours visit.
I know about this because the photography club's response to this plan was apparently so unpleasant, that the house's staff compiled a joke letter, and then wanted to share it with you all.
It is easy for us, within our institutions, with our detailed knowledge of how they function, to scoff at public misunderstanding about their inner workings. We have a duty to educate and inform the public not only about historic sites, but also the surprising ongoing costs just to maintain the status quo, let alone develop them.
Aaaaaalllthough... Staff frustration is very understandable when someone expects to bring 8 to 15 people on a special out of hours visit, paying less for the whole group than is usually paid for one person!
And they then threaten to break into your venue.
Read on to see the full image sent to me of the venue's mock letter.
And do watch out for that box hedge!
A synopsis of the email I received:
"My gallery encourages lunch break visits... very popular to relax for 15 minutes in the city... council staff use the cafe as it's the nearest real coffee to the main office...They got aggressive, began almost shouting, acted like I'd yelled at them or spoken like they were stupid or something. It was upsetting when I'd been as polite as possible to them when they knew they were openly breaking rules."
This pair were hoist by their own petard though. As they were wearing their council badges, the gallery manager was able to contact their manager about their conduct in public. This local authority apparently has rules about conduct while publicly identifiable as council staff, so having offered that tidbit, the gallery manager left the rest in the hands of their manager.
Webcomic and occasional blog about the heritage sector.
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