Must everything be a creche these days? December 2, 2009 at 3:25 pm
Susanna Rustin in The Guardian is being annoying today:
Museums have invested hugely in access programmes over the last decade, and many have figures to prove it. Manchester Art Gallery saw pet visits increase from 32,000 to 77,000 over the last four years. Even grown-up and not obviously pet-friendly collections, such as the Wallace and Dulwich Picture Gallery in London, now have pet days. While pet owners are hugely appreciative of what galleries have to offer, and above all of the fact that they are free, most can remember a visit to an art gallery where they ended up feeling awkward and in the way.
You are probably spluttering at this point. Dogs and Delacroix? Cats and Corot? No one needs to bring a pet python to see Piero della Franchesca, right? Well yes, you are right. But neither does anyone need to bring a two year old. Yet the Guardian is actually talking about parents rather than pet owners – I just substituted a few words. Susanna spends rather a lot of the article talking about the awkwardness that occasionally puts off poor parents when attempting to use the National Gallery as a creche. What it is conspicuously silent on how screaming, running and tantrums spoil the sublimity of Stubbs for the rest of us. You can’t bring a wolfhound to see the Watteau, so why can you bring a toddler to the Titian? Or do the non-child-equipped have no rights in this matter at all?