Yesterday I took my Ginger Ninja out for some Mummy-and-Me time. We went to the newly-opened, freshly refurbished Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. It’s been closed for about three months, and before that huge sections of it were closed for refurbishing, redeveloping, rebirthing. We missed it. The museum is always a good place to go to with kids.
(Yeah this dinosaur is made of balloons. The balloon artist there was REALLY impressive!)
We didn’t spend as much time there as I would have liked to, because in the exhibits where there were heaps to see and do there were also heaps of people seeing and doing, and the boy was hungry, and isn’t a big fan of Colonial art really. I’ll go back some other time and explore in more depth, at my own pace.
Afterwards we went down to Mures on the wharf and bought a basket each of calamari and chips, and he read his Lego catalogue while I read the brochures from the new look museum, and after a while we put our literature down and chatted, and I asked him what he thought of the new museum, aside from “Good” in a sing-song lilt.
It took a bit to access his thoughts. I tried very hard not to lead him into repeating my own, but at the same time help him to put words around his experiences. In the end he said to me “Actually I didn’t like it as much as the old one”.
I felt the same way.
All that change, all that wait, all that money, and what he and I really wanted was that wonderful, familiar experience of the animal room just the way it was, with the Tasmanian devils and the Tasmanian tiger, and the possums and the wombat and the buttons you press to turn the lights on, and the killer whale suspended from the ceiling. I can put into words better than he can, but I suspect it’s what he feels: we either wanted something unchanged, something that, to go to, is familiar and childhood and home and nostalgia and love, or something so radically different that we would be blown away by its excitement and newness and wouldn’t miss the old at all.
Now, I’m a grown up. I understand about heritage listed buildings and budgets and government funding. I do. And I understand about big dreams being cut short because of big lack. But I still wanted more. I still wanted different. I wanted either no change at all, or bigger change.
Funny, that. Either one would have done. But somewhere in the middle is nothing but disappointing.
And then we walked back to the car in the rain, and realised that museum or not, we have each other.