So after allowing myself a few days to get a perspective I still maintain this was one of the more excruciating museum trips I have been on. To get it into context my Kids and I were killing time before our evening flight.
They are well behaved but enthusiastic five and ten year olds who enjoy art, in fact, love the London Design Museum. And have until this visit always had a good time at Museums helping them to expand their minds and see new things.
The visit starts well enough, with a nice receptionist taking my €1 and explaining that kids go free and that they regularly have tours for kids this may explain things that happen later. The lady also mentioned I had to put my rucksack in a locker – not a problem its €1 and you get it back – makes sense.
We head of to the exhibitions, the place is empty it’s a Sunday, the kids have now boots so steps do echo. The spiral stair case the buildings central design piece is cool and we go up at a fair clip not a problem I think.
Entering the first exhibition area we are still, I would say trotting. Before I can stop the kids one of the ‘watchers’ comes over and says they are not allowed to run. Now run would be an exaggeration but I go fair enough, but we are now marked! We go through the exhibitions one is interactive so we listen to the piece the kids laugh as ‘the watcher’ scowls – clearly not the done thing.
We move around the floor, I am now holding both kids hands, as my paranoia is starting to rise. I think perhaps I am over thinking it but when my 10 year old daughter whispers in my ear ‘Daddy, why does that lady keep looking at us’ I realise perhaps not.
We decide to move on, go to the next floor. The place is hot though so the kids take of their coats and I carry them. Not a problem in a normal place but I am fast realising this is not normal.
Within a minute of entering this floor there is a new watcher who immediately tells me you can carry your coat and the kids will have to put them on. I am getting irritated at this point and to my embarrassment raise my voice and mention what a stupid and pointless rule and why can’t I just let my kids be. Not an option!
We trot back down, put our coats in the locker and hike back up – the place is warm. I cant resist a sarcastic ‘satisfied now’ as we walk back up. But again we are watched like potential thieves – but having been to design museums around the world I can’t really see what we would want to.
By this time my daughter is getting self-conscious and asks me to leave – by now I am with her and we leave. Her final remark as we go is ‘Daddy event the lady at the door is giving us a fake smile’.
A tip to a nearby Ice Cream parlour put us in a better mood. But I can’t help but wondering what the kids tours are like perhaps its walking single file staying a meter away from all exhibits but I will never find out.
My advice is if your kids are normal and not automatons then avoid this place, you are not missing anything and life is too short to put up with misplaced pretension.
If you want to get your children interested in design and art as my two are - go to the V&A in London, The Design Museum in London, The Bauhaus Archive in Berlin, The Guggenheim and MoMA in New York all of which have been great trips in a welcoming atmosphere.
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