A Night at the Museum - WMODA | Wiener Museum

A Night at the Museum

From a Special Correspondent

We have been wondering what’s going on at WMODA during the lockdown. As you know our museum is a very magical place with our Fantastique exhibit and enchanted garden but even we were surprised to receive this report from our special correspondent.

The Royal Doulton garden Elf has become our special correspondent for all the nocturnal activity at WMODA during the lockdown. He is the first piece that Kimberly Sheridan, our Visitor Services manager, unpacked when she joined the museum team and so he has a special place in her heart. Elf was offended recently when our volunteer, George Hawthorn, suggested that he looked like the Russian prime minister.

The Plague Doctors in the Carnival & Cabaret exhibition are advising everybody to wear a mask, just like theirs. They claim they worked during the Great Plague in the 1600s but most of us think they are excessive and rather sinister. Balocoloc, the traditional Venetian mask makers, have been producing some hand-painted designs to make them more attractive.

Several ladies in the Art Nouveau & Art Deco gallery have been making their own masks. The Goldscheider Queen looks very elegant in hers. Lladro’s Bacchante was told she had to wear a mask to go to the grocery store but now she’s upset because nobody told her she needed clothes as well. Her panther was not well received either. Exotic pets are getting a lot of bad press ever since the Tiger King became a cult show on Netflix.

Elf is very is concerned about Beethoven. He is 250 years old this year and in poor health. He is self-isolating on the top of one of the cabinets which is just as well as he is so deaf that he can’t hear any of the advice being offered.

The little girl in the Arts & Crafts gallery is always crying out for Sympathy. Ever since she was sent to the naughty step for misbehaving back in the 1870s, she has been complaining to everyone who stops to admire her in the Minton tile panel. She’s much worse in the lockdown and even her little dog can’t console her.

Maybe it’s not surprising that Sympathy is so unhappy. She shares a gallery with the Martin Brothers whose work has been described as nightmares born of clay and baptized with fire. The Martin Ware wally birds are rather strange, but even more frightening are the leering and grimacing face jugs, particularly when they come to life!

Mark Marshall’s rabbit couple in the Royal Doulton Gallery have not adjusted well to the enforced intimacy. They have forgotten their marriage vows already and spend most of their time arguing.

Elf reports that many of George Tinworth’s mice are not doing well in this crisis. They are not observing appropriate social distancing and continue to host scandalous tea parties. Some have taken to drink with inevitable results. Fortunately, one has been inspired to get creative and has taken up sculpture, following in the footsteps of Tinworth, the first Doulton artist. Of course, the Victorian mice don’t have TV, so they have been improvising and entertaining their youngsters with Punch and Judy puppet shows when they are not engrossed in home schooling. The Quack Doctor has been kept very busy brewing potions and lotions to counteract the virus to no avail. Hopefully he comes up with a remedy soon so that we can all get out of here!

Elf wishes to thank his editor Louise Irvine and photographer George Hawthorn for sharing their crazy sense of humor.