Thoughts from the Lodger

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.
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One Response to “Thoughts from the Lodger”

  1. Dear Lodger,
    I love your first post 🙂 the Guardian really has an award for everything. Is it only for archeological museums or is it for all museums in general?
    A year ago, I visited the Yves Klein exhibition in Paris. He’s a post-modern artist who liked pretentious self-performance and bright colours. He’s well known for using naked women as painting tools and his monochrome works (he even patented a blue colour: International Klein Blue (IKB, =PB29, =CI 77007).
    As I was walking through the exhibition getting more and more disilusioned with art and starting to really hate the man, I saw little coloured seats with built-in earphones meant for children. Failing to understand the adult-comments, I tried to listen to the child-comments… it was just as unclear and devoid of sense. I am quite sure that they would have much preferred finger painting on that day. I would have…

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