Question….Museums…stuffy boring places or wonderful institutions of visual learning? For me they are the latter but I guess that depends on the museum and perhaps the person. Take Plymouth and Exeter museum for example where my daughter Zoe and I recently visited both. I thought they were the antithesis of each other in terms of visual and intellectual stimulation, flow, exhibits and general pleasure to be in vibe.
Plymouth, although the outside is quite architecturally impressive being of neo-classical design and the foyer looked ok but inside…yawn, yawn, yawn. The actual displays are a little tired and boring with very little to visually stimulate. However there is lots of interaction for little ones which is a plus for parents with bored children but not much for adults to keep you in there for more than 5 minutes and you may find yourself fleeing said place to save from museum narcolepsy! This museum refers to the stuffy boring variety I think.
Exeter on the other hand is wonderful. It’s recently been refurbished and modernised, sympathetically I may add and looks great both inside and out in its gorgeous gothic splendour (so it should really as it cost 24 million!). They added some contemporary elements to join the old with the new and restoration of this Victorian wonder is spot on. They have even painted the foyer and hallways a vibrant pink and it looks fab against the stonework.
This colour combination really works…see nature made it first so it must be ok!
The exhibits are really engaging and there is such variety. There were a few stand out exhibits but one piece my daughter and I loved was working on the premise of bottled memories and each bottle had a different memory from the artist engraved on the front, like the smell of freshly mown grass or her mother’s perfume. It was really evocative and such a lovely idea.
We really could have spent most of the day roaming around the rooms looking and oohing and ahhing. There were of course some silly bits but well it’s a museum and obligatory and for the kids I think…..like a whole elephant, polar bear and a tiger…dead of course…now that would be fun and stimulating if there was a live tiger roaming around the place, get the customers moving along nicely! The bit that’s great is it’s free. Not much free in this world that’s really worth a look at. Well that’s not true actually as nature is free and almost always worth a look at, perhaps it’s more a case of not much in this world that costs money that’s worth a look at!