Sunday, August 03, 2014

Museum names and obfuscation

click photo to enlarge
You'd think that one of the primary aims in giving a building a name would be to supply part of a unique address, to identify it to people passing and searching for it, and to indicate its purpose. The latter is not always required but in certain instances it is. There's little point in giving a town hall any other name other than the words town hall preceded by the placename: to do anything else would cause confusion and waste people's time. Similarly with art galleries. Yet in their naming the sound principle just described in relation to town halls is often ignored. What would you expect to see at the Wallace Collection in London? A collection of what? It happens to be fine and decorative arts, but you wouldn't know that from its name.

A public building in Lincoln has a similarly confusing name. It styles itself simply, "The Collection". Perhaps those naming it were influenced by the London example I just mentioned. Yet in Lincoln The Collection is a museum. There seems to be something of an acknowledgement that people won't necessarily guess what the building is about because some of its printed literature describes it as The Collection Museum. But, of course, a museum is a collection, so this awkward construction has built in redundancy: it is somewhat tautological. It seems to me that it is a confusion that should have been seen and then avoided. What is wrong with the name, Lincoln Museum?

We're back, it seems, to yesterday's theme of daft names. And like that post we are discussing a building that is better than the average for the city of Lincoln, despite its unfortunate name. I like the way that stone (is it artificial?) has been used in strongly horizontal lines with randomly disposed holes. I enjoy too the way one enters into a relatively dark foyer then passes into a beautifully lit "Orientation Hall" before entering the main exhibition spaces. The materials of wall, roof and floor have been well chosen and well put together. The exterior is also attractive, its avowedly modern lines fitting in well with the older buildings on its hillside site.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Nikon D5300
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 18mm (27mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/60 sec
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On