27 June 2007

I Spy

by Cecily
Well, my brother (among others) really did say something to Our Dear Leader. They said it in a letter format, and very politely too. Good job, Scholars!

My brother also said something directly to old GW about "having more respect for human rights", to which he apparently got no response at all.

Yesterday we (me and the brother, not me and GW) went to the Spy Museum. It was fun. Or it had its moments at least. I was really cranky because of the deathly heat, already, and then I became even crankier because of the dumbness of their "accommodations". I asked if they had captioning on their video things, to make sure they had it turned on, and instead the front desk guy gave me a little device to wear on a (very fetching) lanyard around my neck. I asked him how it worked and he was vague. "Just wear it, you'll see."

Well, I didn't see. Nothing happened. The first room where we all got shepherded in had some video and some audio going on, and when I asked the staff person THERE what was up, she seemed taken aback, and went to ask someone else. After that, we were sent into another room to watch a movie and the doors were locked behind us. Again, no captioning. I fought my way out of the theater and was told to "sit closer to the screen".

That seemed to work okay (apparently the screen needed to be able to sense my presence via the little lanyard device), although I was annoyed because it meant I was not sitting with my brother, and why didn't someone explain it ahead of time?

But after that, my proximity to the screens made no difference. And after that, there was no way out of the museum and no staff member in sight. I seriously went all the way through it to the end and back, looking for someone because maybe I am just doing something wrong with this little device item. Maybe it needs a new battery. That's fine, I will accept a replacement, I will just ask some friendly museum worker to assist me with this issue.

Or I would have, but there was NO ONE to ask. I have never seen a museum with so little supervision.

There were a LOT of videos and audio things. A few of them had transcripts hanging on nearby pegs, but not anything like all of them, and by halfway through I was so focused on being upset about access that I sort of quit paying attention anyway.

Which was too bad for me because there was a lot of good stuff to look at. WWII army jackets with cameras hidden in the buttonholes and 19th-century revolvers hidden on jeweled rings. Nice.

One especially great item, I thought, was a big ornamental decoration that a bunch of schoolchildren in the USSR presented to the US Ambassador in the days of the cold war. And it had a bug in it! Those crafty Soviet schoolchildren. I wish the Presidential Scholars would have hidden a practical joke or something in the Oval Office, just to keep old George on his toes.

Anyway, at the end of the museum I went and complained for awhile and got apologized to and was given comp tickets and a promise that next time it will be better. So we shall see. Who wants to go to the Spy Museum with me?