Speaking with a colleague last night over coffee in the pub (because drinking on a 'school night' when you have to face shrill children the next day? No.) we agreed that October school holidays seem more insane than any others.
We could only vaguely theorise that over Easter, more people are out and about in the first sunshine. Over summer it's more spread out as folks go on holiday, stay at home, enjoy the sunshine.... and in October? weeeellllll, the weather is a bit so-so, and everyone wants to find an activity which is fairly dry and indoors. All in pretty much the same fortnight. So the events and activities schedule is packed out!
Everyone I know this week who is a teacher:
Everyone I know this week who works in a museum, gallery, heritage venue... offering any form of children's activities.
So, a new musuem is about to open in Hackney on 7th of November. And it sounds cracking. A true gem of a rare and anecdote providing nature.
The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities is one man's antidote to the modern museum, that man being Viktor Wynd - a 'pataphysicist, writer, curator, collector, dealer, dilettante, naturalist and antiquarian'. As a founder member of The Last Tuesday Society in London, their rough mission statement is that it "seeks to create a new world filled with beauty, wonder and the imagination" So that gives some clue as to what the the museum will be like...
“I’m so bored of contemporary museums and their desperate attempt to classify and make sense of everything,” Wynd says. “The world is one big, glorious mess and we should celebrate that.”
How to make a medieval cave and tunnel system more appealing. To a very specific market of small girls.
What a museum curator has in their pocket at the end of a week.
Wall fittings, screws and security screws from a de-mounted cabinet, a paper clip removed from documents put into recycling, essential blu-tack, and a piece of acrylic from a broken display stand.
Is it just me who ends up pulling stuff like this out before trousers go in the wash?
A submitted tale...
The first member of reception staff to arrive switches the phone settings from 'absent' to 'present', goes through the voice-mail, responds to anything urgent, and then checks emails.
My colleague came in, and found almost 20 missed calls from the previous evening, and around 10 from early that morning, but no messages left.
About 5 minutes before opening, the phone rang.
"Oh so you do have staff! I assumed that you were too busy drinking tea or playing croquet to bother even phoning me back! When do you actually open today?"
"Our hours are 12.00 to 4.30 on weekdays, I'm sorry if that wasn't clear in our voice-mail message when you called. Because you called after 4.30, and then before 12.00, there was no-one here to take your call, again I apologise if that wan't clear. And please be assured that I would have returned your call, but regrettably didn't have a number to return your call to."
"...well, Thank you!"
The gentleman had called almost 30 times, but hadn't listened to a word of our instantly played voice-mail message, preferring instead to immediately hang-up, get increasingly frustrated and continue wasting his own time.
The staff member was awarded that week's chocolate biscuit for handling an unpleasant visitor.
I am both impressed and vaguely concerned that this venue/team has a weekly award for having handled an unpleasant visitor. That either indicates a good sense of humour, or a worrying necessity for boosting morale in the face of unrelenting stupidity.
If you have a tale of museum, art gallery or heritage venue woe or comedy, do drop a line in, and it may even become a cartoon of it's own!
Webcomic and occasional blog about the heritage sector.
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