The Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle is a fantastic place, both in terms of content and interpretation - owing much of it's humour to it's founder, Cecil Williamson.
While researching images for signage at my current workplace, this image turned up from the Museum of Witchcraft blog here.
(It is no longer in public use, rather displayed in a corridor of their private library)
Although displaying an attitude you're unlikely to find advised in interpretation and exhibit labeling textbooks or courses, it sums up in a splendid way the conflict many of us may encounter in museums, and especially galleries staging controversial exhibitions - "If you thought it may be unsuitable for your children - WHY DID YOU BRING THEM IN HERE WITHOUT SCOPING IT OUT OR ASKING QUESTIONS FIRST?!!?"
There were a lot of very excited and horny pigeons right in the middle of the eating area, right outside the main entrance to the Museum of Childhood.
One child has visited before and knows where a real dead skeleton is.
All other exhibits in the museum can wait.
As can the teacher.
I doubt that when using her own clothing to illustrate a part of the session, the education lady expected to get 'zinged' by a child of about 6.
When working with children, always think for a second "How could they respond to this in a way which is rude, silly, bewildering or insulting?" Then accept that there are many things they will say which you will never be able to mentally prepare for, and learn how to maintain a pleasant but firm demeanor no matter what happens.
Few things can shake your soul like a child of six staring you straight in the face, with the clear conviction that they purposefully and maliciously intend to derail your entire education or creative session. And the whimpering knowledge that one way or another, they will succeed.
Your venue is busy busy right now with kids and tourists (at least, I hope so, and I hope they spend some pennies there too) so make sure you keep the good times with you whenever you start to grit your teeth and marvel at the depth of human ignorance!
Sometimes small things happen which remind you why you love working in the museum and heritage sector, sometimes a situation comes out better than you expect, and sometimes... well, sometimes you're given a reason to hide a smile. On the days when a football is being kicked about in the art gallery, or you think all of the signage has turned invisible, take a second to hark back, and put your game face on with a glow in your heart.
Webcomic and occasional blog about the heritage sector.
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