logo
Marking time

Marking time in November 2015

Wednesday 4 November 2015

Hints for visitors

Taking off your shoes, before you go into a room, can change your frame of mind. That simple ritual can concentrate your attention on the space you are entering.

Visitors to Mission House at Kerikeri in New Zealand are greeted by a sign that says These are New Zealand’s oldest floors. They will last longer if you take off your shoes. I was happy to com­ply with that polite request, and to save the floor from un­ne­ces­sary wear. At the same time, my feet were sensitive to the texture of the floor, which prompted a discussion with the museum guide about the English and Māori workers who had pitsawn those boards in the early 1820s.

These are New Zealand’s oldest floors. They will last longer if you take off your shoes.​—​ Sign beside the front door at the Mission House, Kerikeri Mission Station, Bay of Islands, April 2004.

As a visitor to museums and historic places I enjoy experiences like this​—​interactions that bring the place to life in an easy and natural way.

The garden front, Mission House.

Seen from inside the house, this young visitor has taken off her boots and is about to walk into the house, where her stockinged feet will feel those pitsawn Kauri pine floorboards and that woven matting.

Edward Tufte is an American academic who studies the com­mu­nic­a­tion of complex data. He tells this story about giving in­form­a­tion in the best form, and at the best time, for it to be absorbed.

Whites gloves = Don’t touch

In my one-day course, I show 3 rare books: a 1570 Euclid, a 1613 Galileo, and a 1704 Newton. Then my assistant car­ries each book, open to the title page, around the room so people can get a close look. We had a problem with people wanting to touch the pages of the wonderful books; and a few people would sulk if told they could not touch the pages. So now my assistant pointedly wears white cloth gloves while showing the books to signal that they should not be touched.

That is, unobtrusive instructions at point of use.

Permanent URL. Use it to bookmark or link to this item.   filed under  Collecting + Design

comment on this article by private email
Search marquis-kyle.com.au

On this page
Hints for visitors

Monthly archive
2017 S A J J M A M F J
2016 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2015 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2014 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2013 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2012 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2011 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2010 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2009 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2008 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2007 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2006 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2005 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2004 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2003 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2002 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2001 D N

Subject archive
Archaeology
Architecture
Collecting
Conservation
Design
Environment
Food
History
Lighthouses
Maps
Me
Photography
Prints
Ratbags
Reviews
Society
Technology
The web
This site
Tools
Typography
Words

About marking time

RSS

©
Contact me