Archive for March 31, 2008

Thoughts from the Lodger

Posted in culture with tags on March 31, 2008 by Philonous

I’m not a math-lete by any stretch of the word. I exist in the grey nether region of the social sciences, the touchy feely artists, and dirty archaeologists (the dirt comes from digging, not from being crazy or perverted, although they do drink a lot, and that can lead to all sorts of behavior). So here’s my first post.
At Culture24, homes of all things museums related in the UK, an article announced the shortlist for some award from the Guardian for the best family friendly museums in the UK. Needless to say, my museum, lets just call it The Hall (it’s a medieval Hall in case you don’t know) was not on the shortlist (for this award, anyways!) One quote from the article really amused me:

“To be family friendly no longer means having to have plastic Viking helmets for kids to dress up in or rows of Egyptian mummies. We’ve made too many presumptions in the past about what kids like. They can appreciate fine art as well as finger painting.”

It made me laugh because I know exactly what museum they’re talking about with the Viking Helmets (doesn’t everyone?) And I am pretty intimately aquainted with it now, short of working there, because I pal around with its founder, who is a trustee at The Hall. Nice. The aforementioned museum does get a lot of flak for those helmets and the like, but damn is it popular! It’s now kind of like the Starbucks-McD’s-Walmart of museums, I think. There’s a whole field of study on this type of heritage consumerism (also see Williamsburg). I find it very interesting. But its what museums have to do now to survive- we’re in competition with every other form of entertainment out there for families/kids.