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Sunday, 7 April 2013

An Introduction to #museumhate week

The Ministry loves Museums, but this week we want you to have a moan and tell us what you hate about them too, maybe its that there is too much or too little on display, maybe they aren't open for long enough. We want to know what grinds your gears about visiting or working in a museum. Contact us and tell us all about it and at the end of the week the best answers will be posted on the website.

Twitter: @curiositytweet #museumhates

And to kick start you in the right direction the Ministry will let you in on our biggest #museumhate for inspiration! (drum roll please)


Seriously, why are museums full of people touching, stroking, licking, sitting on, hanging from and otherwise molesting our lovely objects? It isn't like a secret rule that only a few people know about. When you go in a museum, you know in your heart of hearts you are not meant to touch anything. And if that social stigma wasn't enough you may see signs in Museums such as this:

And some that are a bit more informative: 

And some signs that are just lying:

Installation by Christian Moeller currently on display in the Energy Gallery at the Science Museum  When you ignore the warning by touching the pole, you experience an electric shock, amplified by sound.

And then the signs that are just provocative 

Museum of Sex NYC

But no matter what, there is absolutely no excuse to touch objects. Yes, even if there isn't a sign telling you not to, just don't. And we'll even tell you why: it damages them. I promise you that we aren't doing it to exert control over our precious objects. That's really it: shit gets broken and after that its costly if not impossible to put them back to the way they were. Yet sometimes the temptation gets the better of people and things like this happen...

Barney and Robin dare each other to touch museum objects
in How I Met Your Mother

We even found this blog telling people how to get away with touching objects:

'Do not get caught.

When touching paintings and sculptures in museums, it should be more of a quick grazing, a light touch, a dance of your fingers. Move past, touching. Hand held low, don’t stop to touch. You are walking—don’t rush, keep a regular pace—look seriously, look thoughtfully—in a blink, you graze. Perhaps not even with the tips of your fingers, which hold the archivist nightmare of damaging oils, but even the back of your fingers, as if touching the face of someone you desire for the first time, your knuckles smoothing across their face. 

Don’t laugh. '

For museum people, this just makes us cringe. One last related gripe on our first #museumhate - parents who don't tell their children not to touch objects. When we see little kids grabbing to hold on to an exciting looking train, we don't feel mad at them. Poor kiddies, they don't know what they are doing! It just seems like fun! But for the parents standing behind them, encouraging them to do it while they take pictures, there are some choice words we have for you (that cannot be published here). Museum etiquette must be learned and ideally from a young age. So all you new parents out there, or even if you plan to be a parent one day- THE FUTURE IS IN YOUR HANDS! Teach your kids that museum objects are not for touching!

To be fair, many museums now (somewhat confusingly) have objects or even entire galleries where you are allowed to touch things. HOWEVER, these will be very well signed. In fact, America even has an entire museum where you can touch things: 

Let's break it down then to avoid confusion:

1) Sign saying don't touch- don't touch that shit

2) No sign- assume you can't touch shit

3) Sign encouraging you to touch- touch all the shit

These are the Ministry approved guidelines to touching things in museums. If in doubt, ask your nearest museum warden. 

Do you also hate it when you see the public eating lunch on your exhibits? Are you a member of the public who has secretly touching valuable museum objects? Do you wish museums would get over themselves and stop being so high and mighty about everything? This is your chance to have your voice heard! Send us a tweet @curiositytweet with the hashtag #museumfear and see if your opinion makes our best #museumhate post at the end of the week!

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