We have the "Triennial Conference of the Hellenic and Roman Societies" in town (more on this later). And the opening party was in the Fitzwilliam Museum, with the splendid array of cakes that you see in the picture, and a jolly good get together in the Courtyard restaurant, at which I took a number of snaps of the assembled classicists.
But as soon as I wandered into the galleries, where we were allowed to view the art while quaffing our wine (jolly nice), I was firmly told: no photographs in the galleries. Though before the ban I did manage a nice shot of Professor Neer in the Greek and Roman Room, as you see.
The puzzle to me is: Why no photographs? I can see that Museums don't want to have visitors taking pictures that they then publish for free. But that is easily prevented by the usual "no flash, no tripod" rule. And some say that it is a question of the loans on display ... the lenders have given permission for their property to be shown to the public but not photgraphed by them. If so, why?
And more to the point, why do Museums have such different policies?
You can take photos of the Elgin/Parthenon marbles in the British Museum, but not in the New Acropolis Museum, where there is strictly no photography, except out of the windows on the top floor. (How about that for an argument for not sending them back?... only joking!)
At Delphi on the other hand,which I recently visited, you can take photos of the objects, but not of your friends in front of the objects. Contrast the Louvre, for example, where half the visitors pose for a family snap in front of the Venus de Milo.
And why do those Museums who still try to enforce the ban keep up the unequal struggle? I mean, when almost anyone's mobile phone can take halfway decent pictures, you cant hope to prevent those sly snaps.
Does anyone want to sign up to my "free photography in Museums' campaign.
(That's Professor Porter admiring the helmets above.)