Meeting for cake last week, I found myself with time to spare in Birmingham Museum. Wandering up to the new(ish) Brummie Gallery, I found only 3 other people there. Fantastic.
The problem with a lot of museums is that they like to do more than just stick things in cabinets. Now we have to be interactive and exciting. All well and good but if there is more than one of you, these don't work that well for a group as opposed to a single person. Anyone who remembers the Millennium Dome will know what I mean - the building was full of 1-person things to do. I went on a quiet day and even then walked by quite a few interesting looking places because you could only enjoy them one at a time.
Worse, if you are enjoying something, you're likely to gain an audience breathing down your neck and wishing you'd sod off so they can have a go.
The display shown is a good example. It's very clever, the tools are firmly fixed down but if you touch one, it starts a short film. This focuses on a particular manufacturer who makes something interesting - whistles, pewter castings etc.
Of course, I want to see them all and because I had the display to myself, I could. And they were all interesting, especially the Acme Whistles film.
Had the gallery been busy, there would have been
Enough. Grown-ups appreciate this stuff and we are the ones paying for it. Lock the children in the "Victorian child experience" where they can be showed up chimneys and down pits. The rest of us who are genuinely interested will do the learning. Thank you.