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The Museum of Forward Planning: Real Stories from Our Imaginary Museum

by Vidda Cartwright

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Showing 5 of 5
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I'm incredibly grateful to have received this for free from the author under the Early Reviewers feature.

This self-published title came to me bearing a post-it on it's cover reading "Hope it raises a smile!", signed off by the author. I'm happy to report that his hopes were met.

'The Museum of Forward Planning' is a culmination of observational jokes inspired by the author's personal experience in the heritage sector. As someone who works for libraries I feel I'm halfway in with being "in" on the joke; one would ideally hope that any and all readers would be able to appreciate it's humour, but there were definitely moments where I felt the delivery was rushed towards it's punchline, and more time could have been spent detailing the industry it aims to satirise, allowing a wider audience to engage with it.
He also employs colour images and diagrams, which I feel is a wise addition, but unfortunately due to supposed printing limitations some of these become quite blurry and artifacted.
While I enjoyed certain sections which got down to specific bureaucratic and administrative hangups which are common among many public-facing industries, at times I longed for a clearer picture to be painted of this fictitional museum. We're certainly given an impression of it's attitude quite clearly, but if a stronger image were presented of how the public perceives this establishment, perhaps even through news articles or yelp reviews, then a wider audience might be able to empathise with the comedy's target.

All in all, it worked as a series of managerial observations on an industry that, like any other, is having to self-reflect on it's efficacy amid economic uncertainty. I appreciated it's voice, and look forward to Cartwright's future work.
  xXH3NXx | May 28, 2023 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this book from Early Reviewers with a post it inside saying "I hope you enjoy this daft little book" - well I did! I do not work in a museum and so wasn't sure if it would be for me but I am glad I got it. I found myself laughing quite a lot! I have worked in a university, hospitals, a school, children's nurseries, county council and banks and a lot of the points and humour apply to those too and probably apply to just about any organisation or business. If you work in a museum then I thoroughly recommend you purchase it and if you don't and want a short funny book about working life then go ahead. I know it was self-published but it could definitely have done with more proof reading, I am sure a friend or colleague would have noticed errors. Also, some of the formatting of the diagrams and boxes could do with a bit more work. I have always enjoyed museums and my favourite and vivid memories are London visits to The Natural History Museum (one of my very favourite places in the whole world) and Science Museum as a child. More recently I have been to museums in Liverpool, Iceland and Oxford and enjoyed them all. If you like museums then this book will definitely give you a flavour of what goes on behind the scenes. ( )
  AmandaMoira | May 4, 2023 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This rather slim book (around 170 pages and a lot of blank white paper, like many other self-published works) was sent to me free in exchange for a review via Early Reviewers.

Written by a museum professional while he or she pretended to pay attention during endless Zoom meetings, it sets out to expose the lunacy and bureaucracy that is the reality for many museum staff. It also illustrates how different groups of staff within museums (front of house, senior leadership team etc etc) all hate each other and believe that only their group are right about the proper aims and objectives of a museum. On one thing, however, they are all agreed – the public are the enemy, unless they are dead and left a bequest to the museum in their will.

One thing is evident – the author, although a museum professional, is almost certainly not a curator, because the book makes it clear that they are the worst of all, although they have lots of degrees.

Because one of the illustrations features the arch-cad Terry-Thomas, the author is probably not young. This is the work of an ageing cynic who still loves museums.

The book is about 80% funny. It should probably have had the blue pencil applied in a few places, but that would have made it even shorter.

The author has a curious obsession with the year 2019. It notes the pandemic and the Capitol riot as both happening in that year; but neither did. Maybe time really does stand still in the Museum of Forward Planning. ( )
  ponsonby | Apr 12, 2023 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Enjoyed this book.
If you like Scott Adams esq humour, you should enjoy this.
whilst sat chuckling to myself, I found many situations we can all relate to working in this sector of work... Or not.
It maybe said to be dated whilst referring to covid, but the MOfP (always read a in deep echoing voice), will be something that will live on in the structure of 'museum' life.

Great for those just starting out in such line of career, and/or those just wondering from day to day... 'Wtf is going on, and who's running the show here'?

I will recommend this book to colleagues. ( )
  KarlHarris | Apr 10, 2023 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this book as part of the Early Reviewers scheme at Librarything, and am glad I did. It was laugh out loud funny in places, and my family became irritated at me wanting to read bits out to them. I don't work in a museum, but recognise enough of the foibles of human beings and the organisations we work in to appreciate this sideways look at museum life.

Some of the production values let the content down a bit. For instance, I couldn't read some of the text on the graphics of the presentation slides included. I wasn't entirely sure if this was deliberate, part of the joke about the death by powerpoint culture in some organisations.

All in all, though, a funny and thought provoking read which lightened my day. ( )
  tcarter | Apr 10, 2023 |
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Vidda C Cartwright's book The Museum of Forward Planning: Real Stories from Our Imaginary Museum was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

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