Sunday, October 08, 2006

British Museum displays abused (

An article about the problems experienced by the British Museum, at the hands of unruly and ill supervised school children. I was at the BM last week, taking photos in the monument gallery - including several of the sarcophagus shown in the photograph - and it was absolute bedlam. School teachers allowed children to run riot, crashing into other visitors and exhibits. Bad for the exhibits, bad for the visitors. The BM is a great institution and it is a privilege to get so close to such wonderful items - it is such a great shame that this privilege is being so thoroughly abused.

"A pair of sniggering schoolboys grope the breasts of a 3,500-year-old bust of an Egyptian queen, while a sarcophagus dating from 1500BC is used as a makeshift rubbish bin and a climbing frame. It sounds like a scene from Carry On Cleo, but it's just another day at the British Museum. The boorishness and schoolboy antics frequently witnessed in the museum, have forced curators to put the bulk of their precious Egyptian collection behind glass. Documents reveal that staff fear deteriorating public behaviour is putting exhibits at risk. The papers also show that curators have pleaded in vain with management to put 'Do Not Touch' signs in Gallery 4, which houses much of the Egyptian collection.
In a letter in February, Jeffrey Spencer, the deputy keeper of the collection, sympathises with an outraged member of the public who witnessed 17 inappropriate incidents on a single visit."

Details from the letter are published on the above web page.

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