I took Paola to her favourite museum in Bournemouth on Saturday. It’s an art gallery housed in a most fabulous old house with an equally fascinating story. It’s very much the English version of Mexico City’s Dolores Olmedo. But better. This pair of travellers set off around the world by boat, long before the advent of the airplane. I suspect they were a little wealthier, by a magnitude or five. On one stop, they filled a hundred cases with art and antiquities.
The name of this must see attraction? Meh. This museum has a flaw, one it shares to a degree with the Museo Dolores Olmedo. No photography allowed. My blog posts are more often than not an accompaniment, sometimes just an excuse, to explain from whence my latest photos were taken. But because of the ban, I can only show you the one below, of the exterior of the building.
I do understand why some photography might be limited. These sort of houses often host artwork belonging to other galleries, stately homes or other collections, and have to respect the wishes of the copyright owners. But that doesn’t justify a blanket ban. I’d have loved to show you photos I’d taken of the permanent exhibits and the interior architecture of this museum. But I can’t. And it does seem a bit pointless. There are photos available on the web of many of their sculptures, paintings and antiquities. For example, a quick Google search soon turns up a multitude of results for perhaps the most famous painting of their entire collection.
There’s a better way, and it benefits both the visitors and the museum. Grant permission for visitors to take photos for non commercial purposes. Visitors take away memories in full technicolor. The museum gets free advertising. Simply put clear signage to show where photography is and isn’t allowed. Charge a small fee if necessary to cover the costs. Give photographs a sticker to put on their cameras to show they’ve paid. Worried about flash photography. Put the sticker over the flash!
It’s that simple. Encourage photography. Be clear what is allowed. Make a little extra money. Get a whole load of free coverage across the net. The name of this museum? I more often than not simply don’t even go inside museums with photography bans. And given that photography is my hobby, I definitely don’t offer free advertising. It wouldn’t take long to identify it from the clues I’ve given. And it really is a great museum. I just wish they’d let me show you how great.