Monday, 11 February 2013

The Computer Says "No"...

Picture: Tumblr
I got an astonishingly bureaucratic response to a query to the V&A - a museum that prides itself on being accessible and visitor-friendly.  I don't mind waiting to see the painting in question, but if I were engaged in time-sensitive research, or were visiting London only for a short time, I'd really want to know more about why it can't be seen for such a long and indeterminate period.  A direct response from a person would have been helpful in those cases.  Here's the email they sent me, with only the name of the sender redacted.  I bet they spent real money on all those forms and automated replies.
The painting in question looks interesting.  It's a full-size copy of Raphael's School of Athens that was commissioned for the Long Gallery at Northumberland House.  Roll on 2014 (at the earliest...)!

Subject: RT10086 Response to your Research Enquiries question
Victoria and Albert Museum
Response to your Research Enquiries Question #: RT10086 
Please describe how we can help you: 
Would it be possible to view the Mengs copy of Raphael's School of Athens, which is listed as in store?

Many thanks
Michael Savage 
Our response is:
Dear Michael Savage,
Thank you for your enquiry. Unfortunately the Mengs' copy of Raphael's School of Athens will not be available before the end of 2014 at the earliest. It will be then on display in the Cast Courts. I am very sorry about this inconvenience but its avalibility depends on the progress of refurbishments work currently carried out in the Cast Courts.
Yours sincerely,
[name redacted - MS]

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