Years ago, Rainey Tisdale introduced me to the concept of the power of ten, developed by the Project for Public Spaces--the idea that public places need more than one reason to be there--preferably ten! So in a park, for instance, you might walk, birdwatch, eat, play with your dog--you get the idea. Museums have gotten better at this, but many still have a long way to go.
I was reminded vividly of that concept when I visited the Wellcome Collection a few weeks ago in London--the entire museum had loads to do--but in particular, I found the Reading Room to be one of the most welcoming (sorry, no pun intended), fascinating, friendly museum/library spaces I had visited in a very long time.
First, it's a beautiful space, so the first thing you might do would be just to enjoy the space (above, photo from the Wellcome Collection website) But what else did I see people doing?
Play board games--and another complicated game I never quite figured out!
Look at art.
Build things with giant foam blocks--with your family or with perfect strangers--and the prompt was to imagine what abstract ideas might look like in physical form.
Share a drawing of what you eat to feel better.
Join in a facilitated conversation--for all ages-- about toys that represent all of us.
Send a postcard (oh yes, postcards free for the taking)
The Reading Room felt both the most old-fashioned place and the place of the future--where we learn to deeply connect. Thanks Wellcome Collection, for making a rainy London afternoon so memorable!