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Top five annoying people in museums

By Steph Dye

© Nathan James Page

1. The primary school gremlin

When you're six, everything is exciting. Truly. Everything. Whatever it is, you just have to touch it/kick it/shriek at it. Which means a school trip is the equivalent of snorting a line of speed while riding a rollercoaster; it's that thrilling. Those teachers and parents may think they're in charge and have your attention, but the annoyingly good acoustics of the museum transform you and your fellow backpack-toting balls of excitement into a deafening force to be reckoned with. And just wait till the top-deck-of-the-bus journey home…

2. The know-it-all

We get it. You did A level Latin. You took an Open University course in classics and you have a globe that doubles as a drinks cabinet in your spare room, sorry, 'study'. And you like to spend long afternoons in museums imparting nuggets of wisdom on your specialist subject – the life of Ptolemy – to anyone within earshot. Yes, we believe your claim to being a doctor. Presumably an anaesthetist. 

© Nathan James Page

3. The teenage sceptic

Propelled by a carefully cultivated air of resentment, you huff, drag your feet and check your hair every time you catch sight of your reflection in a display case. You thought GCSE geography would basically be advanced colouring-in for two hours a week, but now you're being forced to look at, like, rocks and stuff. School trip? More like an afternoon in Guantánamo Bay. Hold up, some hotties are approaching. Maybe staring sorrowfully at lumps of granite will make you look interesting.

4. The cultural castaway

You know that museums are important. They contain knowledge. If you visit one, some of that knowledge might go in your brain. But now you're here, you're totally lost. What's that, for instance, that skull thing? Is that Egyptian? They came from Greece, right? No, that's the Vikings. They had horns; they're on the telly; in 'Game of Thrones'. Or that big black splodgey stone thing: 'Fossil of an ichthyosaur'. Whaa? Is that, like, a dog? No, that's 'paw'. What's a fossil? And where did all this stuff come from?

© Nathan James Page

5. The tourist tool

Are the million photos you're taking a worthwhile use of your time? In the future, will your grandchildren say 'Show us the picture of that nondescript fossil again, it was really cool'? No. By that point, you probably won't remember where you took it anyway; having a camera pressed that close to your face for 90 percent of your life will probably give you some brain-shrivelling disease (or maybe you have one already?). If only life were as simple as iPhoto – we could drop you in the trash, free up space and pretend you never existed.

By Steph Dye, who still regrets taking GCSE geography.

Illustrations: Nathan James Page

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