Venue, cafe. Cafe, venue.
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!
I'm fairly sure that people who made metal holders to burn ritual incense had fire...
I know that the past is a foreign place and that not everyone has had the privilege of being educated in how things were. This lass though was a gift through the exhibition, as in seconds she could veer from intelligent and excited interest, to questing thought, to a question that left you doing a double take in case she was winding her mates up.
One of her mates pointed out that if Egyptians burnt things, they must have had fire, and conversation regarding "rubbing things together" followed.
I am a bit in love with what is happening over in Derby right now.
The Silk Mill was Derby's Industrial Museum, and it's undergoing a massive change into a Museum of Making. And as it does so, it is showing other institutions how the modern museum can nail it when it comes to community engagement and buy in from day one, and how splendidly collaborative and open the process can be.
There is a lot I could say about this, but their most recent tumblr post (British museums, more of you should be on there please, it's a great social platform for you) bought up something I really want to highlight.
The post is here. It discusses how: "unlike the traditional approach to a museum revamp, led and directed solely by curators, management teams and Board members, we have taken a wholly different approach."
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.
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