“Hello and welcome to the Australian Museum’s event calendar where you’ll find something for people of all ages” was the greeting on the latest newsletter I received form them. Yes, but there seems to be a gap…
First on the list of events is the excellent Tyrannosaurs exhibition which we went to see during the holidays. It’s a great show with a lot of interesting insights strung together with the Museum’s usual panache. I can’t argue that it has something for all ages, so overall the Museum’s greeting is accurate (although during the holidays when we visited, at least, the experience was marred by the huge number of families with very young kids treating the interactive parts as a playground.)
But what of the rest of the events touted by the Museum? There are a bunch of events covering ages 1-5; something which, speaking as a parent who had a Museum membership largely on the basis that they used to have the best indoor playground in Sydney, I applaud. And then there’s the cleverly named Tyrannosnore sleepover in February for kids aged 5-12.
Finally there are a series of really interesting looking talks on dinosaurs and evolution: All of which are for adults only.
As far as I can see the evolutionary gap involves anyone aged between 12 and 18. Surely the Museum can find activities that would appeal to that age group? Why not open the Tyrannosaur exhibition one evening without the under 5’s smearing the touch-screens with lolly-enhanced hands? Or allow teens to attend the talks? I’m struggling to see that any 16-year-old who is persuaded to come along to a talk on the origin and history of life on Earth is going to be disruptive or see anything inappropriate.
The Australian Museum is not alone in failing to cater for teens; but for an institution that otherwise shows such imagination and creativity, it could do better.
UPDATE: The swift and efficient @ausmus Twitter team have informed me that there is in fact no problem with anyone going to the talks and the ‘Adults only’ tag will be removed. Great news.