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Monday, 8 April 2013

Our next #museumhate- unrealistic visitor demands of specialist knowledge

Well we appear to have opened up some deeply held resentment today on the #museumhates! We love that everyone is letting off steam! Just because we are already obsessed and think you all are brilliant, here are some of the topics from today! 

1)You really don’t like confusing labels
Simple is the way forward.
UCL Museums blog

2)You don’t care for overly crowded museums (particularly with children!)
Bugs and the spreading of disease
Courtesy of NHM Public Library

3)You despise overpriced museum gift-shops and cafes
£36,800 Damie Hirst Skull in Tate Gift Shop.

4) You loathe enormous text panels

Brooklyn Museum

5) And you are reserving a special place in hell for all museum pests eating your collections!

Seems to be a lot of hate though aimed at the museum itself. But what do museums and museum staff hate? Well we have a new one for you just to keep you going.

We HATE when the public treat museum staff like walking encyclopedias. 

Just because we work in a museum and maybe are wearing a name-badge doesn’t mean we know everything about everything. If you happen to be a curator of 18th century prints, you are probably not going to be able to explain how that steam engine works.

Similarly, if you visited a museum when you are a child but are now visiting with your grandchildren, please do not expect any staff member you see to be able to remember every display you saw years and years ago!

Even worse, when a visitor expects you to be able to answer subject specialist questions about every item on display and then gets ANGRY when you don’t know the answer! I’m sorry that you have come to this museum to learn more about early 19th century match-making and I have not yet memorized all the academic articles on the subject. Do I come to your place of work screaming at about how expensive conservation costs are? Can you tell me how I can engage visitors in my new display while not spending any money on new acquisitions or interpretation? THEN SHUT UP!

Perhaps most hated is the researcher who writes into museums with an enormous list of ridiculous questions most easily answered by a Google search. Seriously do your own research! We appreciate that you want to use museums as learning tools, and that’s amazing. But if your question is, what was the Industrial Revolution?, then go read a book. ALL OF YOU GO READ SOME BOOKS.

Got your own #museumhate? Be sure to add the hashtag and tweet @curiositytweet! 

1 comment:

  1. Just to turn the 'why aren't you an encyclopedia?' around, when people come to open days and feel the need to explain my own work to me. I got the bloody degree so I'd know this stuff, I don't need you patronizing me on top of it!