Things that make you scratch your head

February 27 2012

Image of Things that make you scratch your head

Picture: Salford Museum & Art Gallery

Salford Museum recently asked two teenagers (both aged 13) to leave, because they weren't accompanied by an adult. It was half term week, and instead of hanging round Top Shop, the girls had thought they'd see a little culture. But the Health & Safety brigade were determined to have their way. From The Manchester Evening News):

Stephen Hassall, Salford Community Leisure chief executive, said it had an exemplary record of working with children. He said: “Our child protection policy means we ask that children under 16 are accompanied by an adult for their own safety. “This isn’t unusual and similar policies operate across Greater Manchester.”

Well, it should be unusual. Meanwhile, in The Guardian, Dea Birkett of Kids in Museums, says:

Many museums argue, completely erroneously, that they don't have a choice; it's illegal to allow teenagers in by themselves. There is no such law. But there is an age limit. For a museum to allow a child to visit aged eight or under, it may possibly need to be Ofsted registered. But any older than that, it's up to the individual institution to set its own rules.

It would be wrong to say museums shun all teenagers. They love them in school uniform, all besuited and trotting along behind a teacher. They are very keen to support "out of the classroom learning" as long as those having the lessons are accompanied by plenty of classroom assistants. They'll issue them with the modern-day equivalent of clipboards – hand-held electronic devices – and send them out on tightly controlled trails. Then they'll boast about how many young people have visited their museum each year, and how much they have learnt.

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