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  • 1.  Child/baby carrier/backpack policies?

    Posted 08-17-2016 02:15 PM

    Just recently have had visitors to Norman Rockwell Museum, with small children being carried by an adult in a backpack style carrier. For security reasons- we do not permit backpacks or large bags. Parents were not happy about this, and said strollers were not a good option (child was able to get out of the stroller).   Anyone else noticing this trend and have policies, either way?  Feedback appreciated!

    Thank you,

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    Margit Hotchkiss
    Deputy Director of Audience and Business Development
    Norman Rockwell Museum
    Stockbridge MA
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  • 2.  RE: Child/baby carrier/backpack policies?

    Posted 08-18-2016 08:55 AM

    Our policy is the same as yours, not allowed on the back, but they can be in a front carrier. We have a few strollers to provide options for parents. If the child climbs out of the stroller that would be a parental supervision issue not the child's fault πŸ˜‰ children do what the do because they are children. 

    Geoff

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    Geoffrey Goodrich CIPM
    Director of Security
    Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
    Bentonville AR

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  • 3.  RE: Child/baby carrier/backpack policies?

    Posted 08-18-2016 12:04 PM

    Thanks for the feedback!  Certainly this is a challenging topic; and we all want to be family-friendly.  We also offer strollers to borrow. 

    Our security and curatorial departments agree that any/all kinds of backpacks present the issue of potential bumping or scraping of paintings, as the wearer is not cognizant of the added space the pack takes up.  Additionally- if a child is in the pack, they might be reaching or touching, without the adult's knowledge.

    It's so hard to balance visitor needs with safety and preservation of art.  It's mind-boggling how many people still touch paintings with their hands or an object. Canes are even used as pointers!

    Appreciate your time to respond.

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    Margit Hotchkiss
    Deputy Director of Audience and Business Development
    Norman Rockwell Museum
    Stockbridge MA

    AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo, Baltimore, May 16-19, 2024, click to learn more


  • 4.  RE: Child/baby carrier/backpack policies?

    Posted 08-18-2016 12:31 PM

    We recently had visitors who were upset with our child-on-the-back policy but realized that our website and other publications didn't clearly differentiate child carriers from traditional backpacks. The language was updated quickly and is below. As in the case with Crystal Bridges, strollers were not considered a viable option for this family, but we stood by this policy for the protection of art. Also of note is that the child carrier in this case was a wrap style.

    For the safety and preservation of the collection, the Museum asks that you follow these policies.

    Backpacks must be checked at one of the Museum's two coat check locations, along with food and drink, large bags, umbrellas and any other items that might cause accidental damage. Child carriers must be worn in the front or checked at the coat check, Strollers are available free of charge. Anything larger than 11" x 17", including signs, posters, and promotional materials must also be checked at a coat check. Large bags and backpacks also are subject to search.
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    Patricia Crowe
    Director of Marketing and Communications
    Saint Louis Art Museum
    St. Louis MO

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  • 5.  RE: Child/baby carrier/backpack policies?

    Posted 08-18-2016 09:38 AM

    Do you mean a normal carrier that is wearable on the back? (http://store.ergobaby.com/baby-carrier/four-position-360

    scroll just over half-way down the page to see the different ways the carrier can be worn.  This brand is the most common that I see at my, very child-friendly, museum).  As an expectant mother I've been looking into carriers as my husband and I feel that they will be more convenient than a stroller for some trips (like to the grocery store).  A carrier is smaller to transport and takes up less room when moving around.  A carrier is an extension of me (or my husband), a stroller is not.  I see no problem with a person wearing a carrier like the one I linked to in any position.  The main issues with backpacks are two fold; 1: you need a security person to go through and make sure the person isn't bringing anything they shouldn't be into the museum, and 2: people forgot the amount of space they are taking up with the backpack on and are more likely to bump into things or knock the backpack into things not realizing how far out the backpack extends.  Neither should be a problem with a baby carrier; 1: The item in the carrier is a baby, obviously, and although some carriers have little pockets for baby accessorizes no one is going to be hiding anything of size in those small pockets. 2: I would hope that a person caring a baby on their back would be more cognizant of how much extra space they need when moving (given that my first child is still in-utero, I haven't worn a carrier yet).

    I feel that your restriction on how carriers can be worn is very family unfriendly.  If it is safer for the child, and the museum objects, for the child to be in a carrier, facing any direction, then let the child be in the carrier.  If the type of carrier you are referring to is not a normal on the back carrier, then I would need to see a picture in order to decide if I think your ban is reasonable.  

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    Wendy Beins
    Kansas City, MO
    Discovery Room Facilitator Museum at Prairiefire

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  • 6.  RE: Child/baby carrier/backpack policies?

    Posted 08-19-2016 07:53 AM

    Of course the safety of the collection has to be the priority, but I also understand the parents' frustration. Toddlers, whether in strollers on walking on their own, are so low to the ground that they cannot see much of anything. Objects in cases are too high, and paintings on the wall mostly reflect the glare of the lighting when you're down that low. When I had very young children, I learned to not take them to museums.  It wasn't fun for them until they were a little older and taller.

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    Lyn Koehnline
    Curator

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  • 7.  RE: Child/baby carrier/backpack policies?

    Posted 08-19-2016 06:05 PM

    We don't allow backpacks or back baby carriers either, for all the reasons already outlined.  However, in addition to strollers we also offer front baby carriers for loan.  It doesn't make every parent happy but it helps.

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    Neda Asgharzadeh
    Director of Member & Visitor Services
    Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
    de Young | Legion of Honor
    San Francisco CA

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