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.
No one ever tells you that period costume, especially if you get knee high fitted boots and a codpiece, is a terrifying magnet for being mauled by female tourists. (These are the same two gleeful ladies, and the dashing Charles, from the Tudors on Tour.)
It's a bold idea, since we know that national and local government have very hard choices to make, but museums are increasingly popular (facts and figures here) and they are trying to balance their growing and potential role in society against decreasing funding. Asking museum users to speak up may add another string to the museum funding bow, challenge some preconceptions and perhaps remind people to get up and get into museums.
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