Oh no, Charlie Brooker’s gone and said it out loud – museums are full of boring old stuff that no-one’s interested in.
Who needs museums anyway? As he says, an old pot is just an old pot (when it’s not a broken old pot) and, honestly, can that ever be interesting? Museums are under pressure to keep on keeping the old pots for posterity, but at the same time prove that they’re engaging new audiences. Is the solution just to drag people through the old pots with the promise of dinosaurs and coffee?
Just as anyone’s interesting if you ask them the right questions and listen properly to their answers, I think anything’s interesting if you pay it enough attention. And so it follows that you can make anything interesting if you approach it in the right way. Partly that’s what museums are already doing – helping us to learn by enabling different learning styles. But more than that, museums need to accept that they are no longer just classrooms. If I want to learn something, I’ll look it up on the internet (or, at a push, buy a book about it). If I go to a museum, I want a break from ordinary life. I’d like to see something surprisingly beautiful that cheers me up. (Or see something ordinary in a surprisingly beautiful way.) I’d like to get little nuggets of knowledge that I can pass on to people I know and show off a bit. And maybe I’d like to hear a good story, especially if it’s told by a storyteller not a teacher. Museums may have to be text books, but they should also be short stories, poems and gossip mags.