I've recently stumbled over some articles on the Telegraph website, which are worthy of a read and likely to cause your eyebrows to shoot up for a variety of reasons.
Should children be banned from museums?
Parents allow their child to climb on a $10 million sculpture at Tate Modern, so Telegraph critic Ivan Hewett and Kids in Museums Director Dea Birkett pitched the case for banning children from museums against engaging them suitably.
Here're some points which struck me:
Ban kids under 12
"High culture is like any other product of the grown-up world... It’s inherently difficult, and so beyond the reach of children. To pretend otherwise, by encouraging kids to think of museum exhibits...as so many shiny toys...is just a form of lying."
"When they reach adolescence, these children won’t think of museums and galleries and theatres as enticing, mysterious places of adult pleasures and values. They’ll think of them (as) something adjusted to their needs when they were kids, and therefore to be left behind as quickly as possible, as they head towards adulthood."
"But it’s not really children that any of these finger-waggers want to ban. It's joy. ...there’s no passion at all for the great work in front of them. There’s just suppressed appreciation of a very academic, hollow-hearted kind."
"Should children really be allowed to ruin other visitors’ experience... Of course not. But the only reason they might do so is if they’re bored out of their brains."
"So rather than send them home, invite them in, and make sure there’s something to keep them busy. A simple copy of an artwork which they can reach out and touch will do, or a jigsaw of the portrait before them."
Following that article, was this:
Children in museums: it's the parents who need training
"I don’t think this is a limitation on creativity or expression. It is a moment when you learn that there is a code of behaviour to which you must adhere."
"Museums that have children’s areas and interactive displays are great for childish behaviour. But if we ask our kids to look at Van Gogh, or the British Museum’s cabinet displays, then we owe it to them to suggest ways in which they can enjoy such things without putting their needs ahead of those of others."