2 thoughts on “one bad museum attendant a day could keep the visitors away.

  1. Had a really bad experience at the Museum of London on Sunday. Went with partner, her 6 year old, and my two boys (almost 3 and 6 years old). Got told off over 5 times during our visit. 3 worst tellings off:

    1. Lifting up 2 year old to see demonstration exhibit made of sliding plastic as too high for him to see – Staff comes and tells us off for “climbing on exhibits” – it was an interactive but of plastic meant to be shunted around and it’s not even an artefact and my 2 year can’t look!

    2. My 6 year enters almost empty gallery (is Sunday morning). He sees lots of exciting things so goes roaming, trotting from one glass case to another. I stop to look at a glass case, next thing I know I turn to find adult staff member looming over my boy who is huddled on ground whilst staff member wags finger at him and tells him not run. My boy has shunk himself as small as possible.

    I challenge staff member and say she is being rude to my child. She is very huffy and not impressed – so I express my views about museums as places of enjoyment, freedom and enlightenment and that there was no one else to be disturbed by his trotting. She stalks off obviously furious at my cheek in confronting her. She later brings other staff with her to check us out – I stare them down and as the boys are quietly playing on the PC’s they leave us alone.

    3. Then a bit of madness – we go to cafe – its 2 floors down. So we use lift. I go to get in after my partner and the boys and this lady staff member bustles up: “can i help you” me: “we are headed for the cafe” her: “oh OK, but you shouldn’t use that lift, you should use that one” points to identical lift on opposing wall Me: “ok, didn’t know we shouldn’t use this one” looks for any sign or otherwise indicating non-use of lift. Her “well as you are all in it I suppose you should go ahead and use it”. Me “you sure, I wouldn’t want to use the wrong thing”. Her “yes, off you go, you can use that one this time”.
    We use lift. We sit in cafe – we observe several other people using said lift, we observe no signs saying shouldn’t use lift we get no explanation why lift is not in use…

    It was bizarre experience and the Museum of London has totally lost my custom – I will not take my children there again until they are much much older.

    I have written to the museum and am twittering about it. We’ll see what happens!

  2. In follow up I was contacted by Graham Stratfold
    Head of Visitor Services Museum of London.

    He was really helpful, constructive and really listened to my concerns. They are looking into the issues now.

    The lift thing was just that one lifts goes up and down and the one we were in only goes down. So that can be put down to a mis-understanding and poor communication. Not a big deal that one.

    The other issues are more serious and I feel that my viewpoints were supported by the Museum. I think my boys behaviour was fine and the Museum seem to think so as well.

    They have invited us back and offered to show us they are a family oriented museum – I may take them up on this offer.

    I think Clairey’s blog point that complaining is worth doing has been proved correct. And the museum’s themselves also appreciate being able to talk these things through to improve their services and visitor experience.

    Simon

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