The Perils of Perambulating Young People
Museums are generally very keen to get young people and families through the door. Kids in Museums is a great place to find out what museums are doing to be family friendly. But it seems we weren’t always quite so keen on young people!
Curator Victoria Osborne found this excerpt from the Museum & Art Gallery Keeper’s report of 18 December 1922 while looking at Committee Minutes for an enquiry:
‘I would beg to draw the attention of the Committee to the very serious overcrowding of the Art Gallery on Sunday afternoons. The overcrowding became so excessive that it was necessary to call in the assistance of the City Police, and the last few Sundays more than half a dozen constables have been on duty to assist the Art Gallery attendants. The crowd mainly consists of young people of up to twenty years of age, who perambulate the galleries without looking at the pictures or objects, and who cause serious inconvenience to the few adult visitors. The class of visitors at present attending derives no benefit from their perambulating though the buildings.’
The problem seems to have been addressed by barring anyone under sixteen who wasn’t accompanied by an adult and limiting admission to 800-900 people at a time.
By spring 1923 a police presence was no longer required on Sunday afternoons!