Museum trip report

Please do not take photographs

This afternoon Jane, Rich and I had a very successful and educational trip to the Scottish Fisheries Museum. As it says on the sign out front: it’s bigger than it appears.

It’s a sign!

The place was littered with signs instructing visitors:

Please do not take photographs.
The intense light from camera flashes can damage the objects on display

I obviously flaunted those instructions on the following grounds:

  1. No flash
    Most importantly, my camera phone doesn’t have a flash.

  2. No soul
    The objects didn’t have souls which would be damaged in any way by capturing them as a digital image.

  3. Bad font
    The signs used the Comic Sans font, so obviously the sign creators couldn’t have been taking their instructions very seriously. Regardless of how large they made the word “Please”.

    Comic Sans is a terrible font that should be used only for cartoons and comics … and even then only those with no words.

    Comic Sans isn’t a font that says ‘sophistication’, ‘authoritative’, or ‘serious’; it says ‘casual’, ‘informal’, and ‘fun’.

    If you are going to write a sign that needs to carry an instruction and you use Comic Sans you might as well just write “… if you can be arsed!” after it.

    Apologies if you really like Comic Sans … but you’re wrong!

  4. No punctuation
    There is no punctuation, so how could we know whether they had stopped giving instructions or not?

  5. Need for photos
    I have a blog-reading public who deserve to see pictures, and since my career as a courtroom artist didn’t take off, taking quick pics with my flashless mobile phone camera seemed like the next best thing.

Not my kind of priest

A Priest, which is seemingly a wooden club used by early fishermen to club fish to death.

Near the start of the museum tour was a display of early fishing — ‘early’ as in 6,000 BC not 06:00 am. Amongst this display was a black, wooden club called a “priest”. The sign reads

Priest

Wooden club used by Fishermen to deliver the death blow to fish caught by line or net

That’s not my idea of priesthood. When Jesus invited his disciples to become fishers of men I’m fairly certain that bludgeoning people into the Kingdom wasn’t at the forefront of his mind.

Spooky figures

The museum was fascinating, with loads of very interesting displays, from the earliest signs of fishing in Scotland, through sail boats, steamers and onto modern fishing techniques.

What caught my eye most, however were the dummies, those manufactured figures used to try to bring scenes to life. I couldn’t help but find them incredibly spooky. It would appear that they didn’t buy in ready-made tailor’s dummies. But they made their own, using painted gloves for hands, and quite eccentric masks for faces. Oh my word they really freaked me out, some of them.

I’d hate to be in there overnight when they come alive and move about. I imagine that they might move like the alien in the movie Men in Black: “I put ma hands on ma head!”

A man with his arm in a silver machine.

For example, above is a photo of the model of Abraham Lincoln with his arm in a sausage machine. Or something.

A lady with a knife.

This lady, above, is situated in a mock fishmonger’s shop just before you get to the exit. She looks really sinister holding that knife and looking towards the door. It was the empty, soulless expression in her eyes that made my blood chill!

Conclusion

In the same way that I enjoyed working in the textile mills in Selkirk and Galashiels, because it gave me an appreciation and understanding of my Scottish Borders heritage, this trip has given me something of an insight into the history of this area.

Ice cream

On our way home we passed a shop that had in its window what looked like a giant ice cream wearing a two-tone bikini!

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Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 46 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Latterly, web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall. Currently on sabbatical. I am a priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, and I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir.

5 thoughts on “Museum trip report”

  1. Please let me be the first to say that although you’re bigger than me, you’re like so wrong about Comic Sans.

    I don’t really have much to add to that other than the fact that my father always liked Bembo.

    (No, he’s not the missing Teletubby!)

  2. Comic Sans is used by folk with no personality to try and convey that they are fun. They’re not.

    My personal favourite fonts:
    Elephant – for titles and headings. Looks good in blue.
    Perpetua – for report writing, somehow looks just that little bit more professional than the standard Times New Roman.
    Tw Cen MT Condensed – for when you have to fit lots of words into a small space.

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