Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Culture with no tolerance

Yesterday was an adventure!

Daddio stayed home so that I could go to my ob appointment in the morning sans kids (and got a little peak of Nicole's newest sweetness), drop off a prescription, return something, then came home for a quick bite.

Once the boys were up from their nap we headed out for our usual Tuesday shots for Bubba's allergies, then we headed off for a little culture... ART! At the Kimball Art Museum the current exhibition is Picturing The Bible: The Earlies Christian Art. Tuesdays are 1/2 price, and both Daddio and I wanted to see it... and this seemed the perfect opportunity to take in this showing. The pieces they had were amazing. And thanks to the Audio Tour units, you are really able to study each piece without standing there to read every single plaque... walking back and forth between plaque and image to take in all they are talking about (I have to go back and forth because I can't see the wall mounted plaque in such low lighting).

About half way through Bubba got pretty close to a sarcophagus, I should say pointing VERY NEAR... and out of no where appeared a curator who stuck to us like glue the entire rest of our journey through the exhibit. Things were going fine until Bobcat decided several stops later that he too wanted to point out something he saw and ask a question, and so again the curator was right up our crawl. Now, both times we kept the boys from ever actually touching the stone, and they were quickly reminded to put their hands right back into their pockets... but the little man right there... really not necessary to have him literally follow us around!

It was very clear to me that either they should have had taller stand for those items, or they should be behind glass! After recounting this story to Matilda this morning on the phone, she filled me in on a few other's experience with this same museum. It turns out that they are not child friendly in the manner they (the establishment) treat families... including ushering picnicing families off the garden area because they were to close to the outdoor sculptures.

All that said, it was a splendid exhibit! So if are a grown up and live in the area, you should check it out!


Red Cardigan said...

I've been told many times that the Kimball isn't family-friendly--it has a reputation for that.

Which is fine, of course--their choice--except that they sometimes advertise in a manner that's rather tempting to homeschoolers.

I actually have quite mixed feelings about all of this; while some places aren't necessarily suited for children, I agree with you that if fragile items are simply displayed with the proper care there's no need for such an unfriendly attitude. Because the Kimbell is so known for this attitude, I've never take my children there--and by the time they're of what the museum considers a proper age for art appreciation it's a little late to start teaching them about art.

Most of our art instruction involves books and online sources. I don't want to deprive my kids of art, but I don't want them to be treated like dirt because they're children, either (especially at a place where the tickets can be pricey).

Anonymous said...

Okay so the inner curator in me can't refrain from commenting. I'm sorry to hear you didn't have a pleasant experience. Having children in the galleries usually is a scary experience for many curators, but it's been my experience that adults are the ones who commit most of the blunders. The DMA is has really great kid friendly and family programs..check them out if you want to make the trek.

I'm wondering if the person tailing you was a gallery assistant/guard. Usually you don't find curators in the galleries unless there's some issues that need to be attended to. We're usually holed up in our collections areas :) not able to see the light of day.

On the issue of the display, the stands may be low to accomodate those with disabilities.


MommaLlama said...

Hey Bao,

You're probably right that is was an assistant or guard and not a curator. 'Curator' was the first word that came to mind while typing the other day.

And I do totally understand that a museum... the exhibits must be treated with the upmost respect! And I can respect them putting the items low, having a father in a wheelchair I'm used to accomdations being made... but I guess it is the homeschooling mom in me that wants my boys to have a better understanding of the world around them including our historical background without feeling like an intruder. In many regards I feel that I didn't have the opportunity to truly value the museum experience younger in life. My parents weren't into art, and rarely were we taken by field trip (now I guess I know why) to this type of museum. This particular exhibit we really knew the kids would connect with and could appreciate and understand to a certain degree. All in all I was so pleased to see them asking questions and noticing the details. I don't think it was a total wash of an experience, by any means... it just really put a bad taste in my mouth for that particular venue.

It's a shame that both kids and adults have caused museum employees to be on such high guard.

I will check out the DMA, thanks for the recommendation.