Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sneaking In

Although we had the wrong map for Winterthur on Friday, we did manage to get there on Sunday, the last day of the quilt exhibit. We were disappointed to learn that the exhibit was sold out when we arrived twenty minutes after they opened. It was also the Garden Faire, so the place was packed. We decided just to tour the house and then check out the fair.

Because of the special event, the house was open without tour guides. Each room had a docent, and you could spend as much time in each room as you wanted (unlike on the tour). DD is a curious soul and she comes up with lots of great questions. When we were in the Empire Room talking to a docent, an older woman (mid-sixties) picked up a piece of china that was on display to check out the mark on the bottom. In a museum! She touched something! Everyone noticed and when the docent saw the looks on our faces, her head practically spun off her neck, "Ma'am, ma'am, you cannot touch that!" The woman puts the place setting down and with a flick of her wrist says, "I know." Apparently, you do not!

Later, in the dining room, we were asking the docent about the china (okay, it was all DD). "Is there any American china?" "Why yes," the docent tells us. "Tucker porcelain was made in Philadelphia with Pennsylvania clay for about ten years in the early nineteenth century. We have some in the Empire Room--it's laid out for tea service." "Oh that's the one that woman picked up!" "Someone touched it? I have never touched anything in the museum! That is going to be all the talk in the lounge." No kidding.

When we were disappointed that the quilt exhibit was sold out, they told us that there were over 40 quilts we could see in the exhibit hall. They gave us some convoluted instructions, so we sent the dude upstairs to see if he could find them; "up here," he calls. So we walk through looking at quilts; admiring them all; explaining to the dude the difference between piecing and quilting, how a quilt is made, what a whole cloth quilt is, etc. I kept thinking, "this is more than 40 quilts." Well, it turns out, we snuck into the quilt exhibit! But I don't feel very bad about it at all: we didn't touch anything! You'd think I'd just be talking about the woman in the Empire Room, but no. We also witnessed a pair of women flip up one of the quilts that was displayed on a bed and rub their grubby hands all over it. It was like they wanted to leave their DNA. They were really going to town! What is the matter with people? Has the whole world gone crazy? Am I the only one around here who gives a shit about the rules? You can tell the stitchers, though; they want to get real close, to point with their hands millimeters away from the fabric, but they do. not. touch. Not at all. No greasy finger gets near other people's fabric--even when the other people have been dead for years.


C in DC said...

Did you also see the cross stitch samplers in the quilt exhibit? Weren't they nice?

AAAAHHH!!!! Hands off people! AAAAHHH!!!! What a nightmare. I've told people in museums before that they can't take flash photos, and even that will make them snippy. I can't imagine having to tell someone not to touch the exhibits.

Mia said...

I can't believe the nerve of people these days. But the exhibit sounds awesome. It is a shame that I don't have time to visit a museum these days. Maybe next year!

Kendra said...

My Granma is a quilter, so I'm quite used to the DO NOT TOUCH rules at a quilt show. But like you, I've seen lots of people touching quilts at shows.

One interesting incident...I had my older daughter with me at a show, she was about 3 at the time, and I was explaining to her that we don't get to touch these quilts (she's used to playing with the quilts at my Granma's house)...all the while next to us was a woman touching a quilt. Ooops.

Lee said...

How incredibly aggravating. Especially the "I know" comment.

Couldn't she have said "I'm sorry"?

Red said...

I'd say the quilt exhibit CAME to you...seeing you weren't looking for it when you found it. :-)
People handling exhibits are a reflection of their upbringing (IMHO). My Mom trained me right from the get-go when I was old enough to wander in an Antique Shop or museum. Even to this day (40-something years later) I still find myself wandering with my hands clasped behind my back.

Jacque said...

I can't even imagine touching something in a museum. She definitely should have apologized! I tend to leave my purse in the trunk of my car when we go into antique shops and just have my wallet in my hands so that my purse doens't accidently "buy" something by breaking it. Even during craft shows I say "May I?" before picking it up!

Michelle said...

So glad you got to see the exhibit! I am constantly apalled at people's behavior in museums. Not only are they touching things, but they are LEANING on things too. ACK! Sunday at the Picasso exhibit, a man walks up to a statue on a pedestal. At the base of the statue is a sign that says "Please do not touch". Guess what...he touches. So, I said loudly - "I guess you don't think that do not touch sign applies to you, huh?!" Shocking.