Confessions of a Technophobe

Famous for her baking skills and zero tolerance approach to grubby display cases, attendant Isobel Wharton shares her views on the changes at Buxton Museum. Over to you, Issy:

As work begins on the redevelopment of the museum, I admit to being a bit of a technophobe and talk of apps, tablets, digital trails and so on seems to take away from the museum experience I have been used to.

Last year in Athens, I saw the porch of maidens, part of the Erechtheion on the Acropolis.  The statues of the maidens are copies but the four originals are in the Acropolis museum along with a film showing how laser technology has been used to clean them from centuries of dirt. Standing back from this scene I became aware of the ancient statues seemed to be looking at the screen and I was struck by the contrast between ancient and modern.

Paul Merritt, who supplies fossils sold in the museum, says “it is important from both a scientific and an artistic point of view that children are able to possess small objects of wonder”. One of the items we sell in the shop is copal with insects – copal is a resin, much younger than amber, probably about 20 – 50,000 years old. I often show children the insects using a magnifying glass and I sent a piece to the children of Bradwell  Infant School where their teacher used a lap top, magnifier and whiteboard to show the insects to the children.

So for me, although there is no substitute for being able to see or even touch parts of our history, technology enables us to have our eyes opened and see even more.


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