February 21st, 2011
Here’s the scenario we’re using as our starting point:
It is the year 2019.
Museums and art galleries have mostly survived the funding cuts of the early part of the decade, yet things are still turbulent. The buildings are as they were, but the staff are restless.
Ongoing industrial disputes have resulted in museum and gallery assistants throughout the country refusing to go to work. Whilst the places they used to work in remain open, there are no longer members of staff in each room to enforce rules such as “do not touch”.
What might happen as a result?
Our first wave of responses all felt that this would be not-so-good, with people worried that all the museum artefacts might get broken.
After a later wave of activity, not only had we broadened our range of first responses to include some more positive reactions, but we’d also started building some interesting chains of ideas.
I made a note of some of them before leaving for the day:
- All the lights might get switched off.
- You could get up closer to the pictures and smell them as well.
- You could feel the paintings.
- Children could play in the dark (but they might bump heads).
- If things got broken
- Museums might switch to being places where you looked at things from the inside, rather than the outside.
- Who would fix the exhibits?
- How would engineers know how to fix ancient things – especially if the instruction manuals were written in hieroglyphics!
- You could have lots of children on the bouncy castle (Mungo Thomson’s Skyspace Bouncehouse).
- You could look at the art whilst talking to your friends.
I think we’re going to take our cue for tomorrow’s activities from that cluster of thoughts about experiencing museums and galleries through different senses…
I’m not yet 100% sure of how we’ll structure the day, but we might switch from a drop-in format to some hour-long sessions with a fixed group of Inspectors. Something will be happening between 11am and 4pm (with a lunchbreak somewhere near the middle) – come to the MoR headquarters at the back of the Play Ground gallery to find out what the situation is.