One of my pet hates

One of my pet hates are people who repeatedly do not bother to check facts, information, news which museums and art galleries and  other cultural venues publish. Publish for free and easily available – provided someone bothers to visit cultural venues’ websites.

This morning, I came across yet another item containing false or wrong information as well as mistakes by a certain person. No, it was not the first time this certain person published misinformation, raising wrong expectations among museum visitors.

The certain person excels in this and has been doing so for several years. This certain person has even managed to create a name among people working in the shared field of museums, exhibitions, art galleries and other cultural venues.

Too bad the gullible public still laps up whatever  unchecked information or sheer fiction is dished out by that certain person. Perhaps it is silly of me to expect facts and information to be checked and rechecked, before an article is published or a visit is organised.

On the other hand, people expect articles and items published on the cultural pages of reputable websites and magazines, to comply with certain journalistic standards and practises. Even when facts and information including crucial ones like ticket prices, opening hours, dates temporary exhibitions open or close, what is currently to be seen or experienced, can be easily checked by the public.

All this was a bit too much of a bother for the certain person yet again. This time, people were invited to join this certain person to visit a museum for “a new exhibition, a new experience”.

Unfortunately, the museum’s last temporary exhibition for 2016 closed in October and the next one will not open a couple of weeks into 2017. Which as usual, is made clear on the museum’s freely accessible website. What can be visited – since 2002 – is the museum’s permanent collection.

There is nothing more irritating for museums than wrongly raised expectations among new and regular visitors, caused by people like that certain person. For that certain person will not be the one having to deal with complaints, disappointments, raised expectations not met, bad PR. Nor will that certain person have to entice visitors to revisit once a new temporary exhibition opens – after expectations were not met.

That certain person doesn’t care. Articles and other activities are not about cultural venues, experiences, raising interest, offering visitors an engaging experience. That certain person claims to be a journalist on the internet, though blatantly disregarding such basic journalistic practises like checking and re checking facts and information. No idea why editors continue to employ that certain person.

What colleagues and I try to do? We try to keep an eye on that certain person. From personal experience colleagues from several museums and I can tell you, that even when personally confronted with or addressed about behaviour and articles and damage done, this certain person is not above kicking public scenes, throwing tantrums inside or in front of museums, publishing not-that-nice comments on social media. In short: causing the kind of PR nobody wants.

Now, when we spot the name of that certain person, we check what that certain person is up to. When we come across outrageous mistakes or misinformation, we contact a website, a magazine, a cultural venue, to try curb potential damage and get things rectified.

This does not always work. We also do not spot everything. So even when coming across an article on the cultural site of a reputable magazine or website, do pay a visit to the cultural venue’s own website before booking tickets.

That person’s latest victim? This time not a Belgian, German, English, French or Luxembourgh cultural venue, but a Dutch museum.


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