Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Missing Exhibits?

I think yesterday was rather good! It may teach Suzi to give a two year free choice again though! She asked him what he'd like to do - "See big and small trains!" was his reply! In the world of our two year old, this really points to his desire to go to the National Railway Museum in York!

One thing I've noticed over the last few months when I visited is that many of the display cases which used to be present in various parts of the museum have disappeared. Many of these contained small exhibits, models and dioramas. There's still the Warehouse but the nature of this area is very different from models and dioramas displayed in their own right. In the photo above is a space which used to contain a large display case with a diorama which showed the end of Euston station which linked in rather well with the gates which are displayed on the adjacent wall. Now there's just an empty space...

Models, and some people don't realise this, do require maintenance to keep them looking presentable - even those in glass cases require care to prevent them fading and deteriorating. So you would expect some rotation of exhibits in this respect. But other areas have seen similar items removed. The top end of the 'Station Hall' seems bare without the long cases which used to display a whole host of smaller items. It seems that the Station Hall is rather 'dumbed down' compared with how it was not so long ago. Many items have moved round and there's a rather large proportion of the hall devoted to displaying vehicles from the Royal Train. It's a subject worthy of coverage but not at the expense of other areas. But what really, to me anyway, seems to be an upsetting sign is the information board next to the Museum's Class 87 locomotive - it doesn't actually mention what type of locomotive it is. It strikes me of trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator - in the case of a museum I don't see the point in this. People who make a conscious decision to go to a museum to enhance life and learn about things want the information there; those who go 'cos it's free' and let their children run riot don't care about the information boards, judging from my own observations of such families, and we've all seen them at all sorts of attractions!

I fully understand and appreciate the need to appeal to many types of people - it's healthy too. A museum just for enthusiasts could be horribly dull. Even the Wizard Week gets people in and, I would hope, financially benefits the museum. It better do as it was horrible to be there during the week. I visited to see the L&Y Signalling School layout in operation on the Saturday of that week and it was terribly busy and noisy!

So I hope the removal of certain smaller exhibits from the main areas isn't an indication in direction of the direction the NRM wishes to take - don't get me wrong either. I love the museum and feel privileged to have it so close at hand. but I just want to see it continue to offer a very high quality (in terms of exhibits and information on hand) for many years to come.

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