The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Internet auctions lead to less objects donated to museums and other stuff in the news

I'm not well and yet I'm still blogging. How committed does that make me? ;)

Anyway, while I suffer from woolly brain and other such ailments, here's a few news items to get you all thinking:

BBC NEWS Wales South West Wales Web auctions hit heritage museum

Louvre staff strike over stress

Coin shows Cleopatra's ugly truth

Aboriginal remains tests halted

Go on! Discuss!

4 comments:

Mary said...

I missed the Louvre story - if only I'd known! Free entrance... Without wishing to tar everyone with the same brush museum attendants in France are often pretty grumpy. I noticed this particularly when I visited the Museum of natural history in Lyon (http://www.museum-lyon.org/. Not because they're bad; quite the opposite - they're really friendly, helpful, welcoming etc. Apparently Michel Cote, who was brought over from Quebec to manage the transition to the new 'Confluences' site, made visitor reception a priority and it's done the trick - it really shows everyone else up... That said, must be a thankless task, guarding the Mona Lisa.

Amy said...

Here's my two-penneth worth:

1. People are starting to recognise the value of their possessions and selling them - presumably to collectors - on Internet auction sites. Collectors will go to enormous lengths to catalogue and preserve their collections. So, doesn't this all mean that more objects will survive into the future to illustrate everyday life in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries? Which has got to be a good thing, hasn't it?

2. So what if Cleopatra didn't conform to our perception of beauty. Perhaps what attracted Marc Anthony (apparently not much of a looker himself!) in the first place was her mind (and the power she wielded)? Aren't we always being told that beauty is in the mind of the beholder?!

Amy said...

Believe me - museum attendants have the tendency to be grumpy the world over. I did it myself for a bit. Standing in a freezing cold Elizabethan manor house in unsuitable shoes (my own vain fault, admittedly), simultaneously trying to stop the local goths who congregated on lawn outside from traipsing in in twos and threes every half hour to 'use the loo', convincing townies - also 'using the loo' - to remove their baseball caps so that the CCTV cameras could get a good look at them, and directing everyone else...yes, you've guessed it, to the loo - or the cafe, not actually answering any questions about the building or the collections within it, just acting as a glorified bouncer/animated signpost, yes, I can understand why museum attendants are a bit grumpy! ;) Incidentally I personally had no problems at all with the local Goths - it was everyone else who was threatened by them for some reason. After that I 'beefed' up the eye-liner and wore a lot more black in tacit solidarity. ;)

Ceri said...

As an 'enabler' in a science centre we were expected to be interacting with visitors constantly and I struggled with this for ages. I liked talking to visitors though, the thing that made me most grumpy were the endless hours of waiting for visitors, sometimes we would go entire afternoons without seeing one person... and since the science centre was quite dark in places to create atmosphere it was pretty scary at times. It was good for the imagination though (I wrote several films in my head suring that time) and I learnt a lot about science from "testing" the interpretations every few minutes but after 1 and a half years of working I had had enough!

I see what you mean about the Goths Amy, in my experience the most unkind visitors were the middle class parents who got upset when things were not working properly and decided they would exercise their frustration on the person nearest to them, which was always us enablers who had the least control over putting it right. So I don't blame museum assistants for being grumpy at all, at least in a shop there are things to tidy etc but once you have been round the exhibits with a duster and baby oil (yes we used baby oil on the stainless steel!) what else is there to do? Still I loved the job for many reasons not least I got to play with a walkie talkie and demonstrate on a real working forge!