You go into a museum, you think, ‘yes, as I expected, lots of old stuff.’ It feels like it’s nothing to do with you. You mooch around for a bit, look for something to grab your attention; maybe something weird, maybe something pretty. You wonder how many minutes count as an acceptable visit and mean that you’re clever and interested and not an idiot. You go to the cafe and then you go shopping.
You are what’s wrong with museums.
Museum visits could feel like a trip into another time. They hardly ever do.
A visit to Dennis Severs house feels like you’ve been taken back in time and allowed to be nosy. You can imagine what it felt like to live in London in another period; waking up in bed, eating breakfast, getting dressed.
Museums put a lot of thought into different learning styles but I think the one they often miss out is imagination. Some people get interested, and maybe learn something as a result, by making leaps of imagination and picturing themselves in someone else’s shoes. And that’s not a challenge that can only be answered by providing fancy dress for children.