By Alfred S Bradford
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Extra info for A prosopography of Lacedaemonians from the death of Alexander the Great, 323 BC to the sack of Sparta by Alaric, AD 396
The first is that, having gained entrance to Alkrington Hall, the common people intended to use the opportunity in order to make clear that jack was as good as his master, and the second that the exhibits Sir Ashton offered them reminded them of attractions at fairs- bears, two-headed calves, fat women, and so on. A fair was a recognised occasion for running a little wild, and the tradition spilled over on to Alkrington Hall. Whether they did any actual damage to the ex- A Social History of Museums hibits we are not told; but they were all too clearly a serious disappointment to Sir Ashton.
The second principle is that the natural qualities of the material should be considered in framing the design, whether for construction or ornament, the opposite error being very common, namely, to borrow patterns invented by the workers in stone, wood or iron, and attempt to reproduce the pattern in some material for which it was not intended. Each material has its own natural qualities, and therefore its own style. u The application of this philosophy was, by any reasonable definition, educational work.
It is not, of course, necessary to officially exclude certain categories of people in order to keep them away. Once people realise, possibly after a first visit, that a place is not for them, they can usually be depended on to stay outside. Difficulties are likely to arise only when people go expecting one thing and find something quite different. Disappointment is a potent source of trouble in any field. Why, we can usefully ask, should anybody, even the educated, have wanted to visit a museum before the nineteenth century made this a normal activity?
A prosopography of Lacedaemonians from the death of Alexander the Great, 323 BC to the sack of Sparta by Alaric, AD 396 by Alfred S Bradford