Author Topic: At the Art Gallery  (Read 1867 times)

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Miss Unleaded

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At the Art Gallery
« on: June 19, 2013, 03:26:41 AM »
Last night I went with a group of colleagues to a well known art gallery.  There were about a dozen or so of us, so our manager arranged and paid for a group tour.  The way the gallery runs these is that they charge a fixed amount for up to 30 people to be shown around the lower floor of the gallery which has various paintings by a single local artist on display.  The guide talked about the history and technique of the paintings, what had influenced the artist during his life, his impact on the history of the area, etc.  She also occassionally asked us what we thought and tried to get us to interact a little bit with some of the art. 

About half way through the talk in the first room, I noticed three people (one older couple and one apparently unrelated man) in our group whom I had never met before.  They then followed around the gallery with our group listening to the guide.  I know they weren't with us because none of the others acknowledged them and they didn't join us for dinner afterwards.  They didn't do anything especially rude except perhaps get in my line of vision a few times, and at one point the man contradicted what the guide said (I couldn't make out the discussion just the tone of voice).

Nobody else seemed bothered but I couldn't help feel it was a bit cheeky to just attach yourself to a guide when it's written in the floor plan that guides incur an additional charge.

I'm curious as to what other people think?  Is it rude?  Or perfectly normal?

guihong

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Re: At the Art Gallery
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2013, 03:42:09 AM »
Was your group a private tour, or open to anyone?  Are there memberships to this museum that include tours of the lower floor exhibit?

The way my city's art museum works is that you buy tickets for the special exhibit (the rest of the museum is free), and the tours begin on the hour (or at regular intervals).  You also can't get into the exhibit without the ticket.   Once in, you're welcome and even encouraged to join a tour, even if one is in progress.  Sometimes people will finish one tour and pick up the first half later.




Miss Unleaded

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Re: At the Art Gallery
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2013, 03:51:46 AM »
The tours need to be booked as they don't run them on a schedule.  They cost a flat rate for up to thirty people per group.  So yes it was a private tour.  If my manager hadn't organised and paid for it, it would not have happened.  It's possible that those other people also booked and paid for a private tour and the staff put our two groups together, but it doesn't seem likely that they would do that.

snowdragon

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Re: At the Art Gallery
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2013, 03:56:38 AM »
If they were the  only two people in the group - they might have.

Having worked in a museum as a docent, it's not unusual for a tiny group to be put with a another group. It frees up docents and allows the museum to have more people served. Is it an every tour kind f thing? No, but it's also not unheard of. In the museum I worked in - it would happen maybe once or twice a month, depending on bookings. 

sweetonsno

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Re: At the Art Gallery
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2013, 03:57:07 AM »
I'm willing to give them a pass for listening to what the guide had to say. However, they should have stayed at the back of the group and not tried to interact with the guide if they weren't paying for it. (The two groups put together scenario is entirely possible as well.)

Eden

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Re: At the Art Gallery
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2013, 09:03:21 AM »
Is it possible they didn't realize it was a private tour, but rather thought it was a public tour put on by the gallery?

Margo

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Re: At the Art Gallery
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2013, 09:10:45 AM »
Is it possible they didn't realize it was a private tour, but rather thought it was a public tour put on by the gallery?

That was my thought. It may be marked on the floor plan, but not everyone consults those, and lots of museums and galleries do offer free tours. Also, it is (in my experience) not unusual to find yourself going round 'with' a tour when you visit a gallery or exhibit simly becaue you can get 'stuck' behind them and have to chose between 'trailing' them or missing out part of what you want to see, by 'over taking'.

It doesn't sound as thought they did anything rude (blocking your sight-line is anything, but they had as much right to be present and looking at the exhibits as you, so unless they were deliberately pushing past / in front of you, I don't think that is rude in itself)

If they just joined in the tour then I think it was up to the guide, or your boss, to address it if they saw it as an issue.

rose red

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Re: At the Art Gallery
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2013, 09:59:00 AM »
Is it possible they didn't realize it was a private tour, but rather thought it was a public tour put on by the gallery?

That's what I was thinking too.  They saw an employee talking in front of a bunch of people and thought it's a regular museum thing for all customers to wander up to listen.  They probably didn't know you were all one group and were people just like them.

lowspark

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Re: At the Art Gallery
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2013, 10:03:39 AM »
I think it's totally up to the tour guide to make sure that the people on his/her tour belong. At the beginning of the tour, the guide should take physical or mental inventory of the group and keep an eye on that for the duration. If people who are not part of the group spontaneously join the tour, the guide should politely inform them that it's a private tour.

Or, possibly, if your manager knew that these folks weren't part of his group, he could have taken the tour guide aside and descretely asked if they were supposed to be included in the tour.

Barring that, I'd say, there wasn't much you could do but grin and bear it.

To answer your question, though, if they didn't pay for the tour, then yes, they were rude to join in like that. Even if they thought it was just a regular museum thing for all customers, they should have at least asked before insinuating themselves into the group.

Thipu1

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Re: At the Art Gallery
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2013, 10:17:00 AM »
In my experience, if a small group is added to a larger group for a museum tour, the guide will always say to the larger group, 'these three people will be joining us today'. 

In galleries, there are always 'floaters' who will latch on to a tour that sounds interesting.  Yes, the group may have paid for a special tour but, given the nature of museums, the guide can't chuck the 'floaters' out unless the group has taken a behind-the-scenes option. 

Dropping in to hear a guide speak about an interesting object is one thing.  Tagging along on an entire tour for which another group has paid is something very different. 

kitchcat

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Re: At the Art Gallery
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2013, 11:00:21 AM »
If the gallery allowed general admission patrons to walk through the gallery at the same time as the tour groups, there isn't really much they can do to prevent people from listening in/following closely to the tours. Engaging in discussions if you aren't part of the tour does seem rude though.
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Miss Unleaded

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Re: At the Art Gallery
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2013, 11:34:29 AM »
Thanks for your opinions everyone. 

I don't think it was a case of a small group being added because they joined us about ten minutes in.  If they did pay they were overcharged since they didn't get the full tour.  I also can't see how they thought it was free: in galleries that conduct free tours don't they have a schedule posted in the entrance?  It's possible that the tour guide thought they were with us so I don't fault her for not saying something.  And I think if my manager said something it would have just interrupted the tour and made him look petty.  I don't think anything could have been done about it that wouldn't have been out of proportion to the 'offence'.

I thought it was an interesting situation because I'd never insert myself into a guided tour that I hadn't paid for and I felt it was rather impudent of them to do so.  I wondered if this was a common thing and maybe not as rude as I personally thought it was.  It's good to hear others' perspectives.

DaDancingPsych

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Re: At the Art Gallery
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2013, 11:51:20 AM »
I am guilty of doing this. I was at a museum that it was appropriate to follow a certain path (there was a distinctive beginning and ending to the exhibit.) After I paid my admission, I realized that a school group was in front of me. I couldn't really skip them without missing something and by hanging back, I could still hear what was being said. I decided to hang out in the back and listen to the guide. I certainly didn't interact with the guide and I did try to be the last person to pass the exhibits (essentially I was the first person to pass after the school group), but I certainly reaped the benefits of the guide. Maybe I was rude, but I think that if you if you want to be guaranteed a truly private tour without anyone listening to the guide, then you would need to rent out the entire museum.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: At the Art Gallery
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2013, 12:09:42 PM »
DaDancingPsych, I think you were fine.  And if the three people who attached themselves to the OP's tour had done the same, I doubt she would have posted.
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pierrotlunaire0

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Re: At the Art Gallery
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2013, 02:32:08 PM »
I have been on guided tours before in Europe, where the guides are far more vigilant.  They usually say or do nothing if the strays stay to the back.  But when non-tour members start to push to the front, I have seen guides in 2 different countries politely, but very firmly, make it clear that they are working for the people who paid for the guide's expertise.

I think in your case, a discreet call to the gallery would be in order.  You paid for a service, and it appears that the guide allowed interlopers to horn in.
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