Held in a new state-of-the-art gallery, the British Museum’s exhibition, Vikings: Life and Legend, was meant to consolidate the museum’s reputation as one of the most innovative and forward-thinking in the world. Instead that reputation has been severely dented as disgruntled visitors take to social media to complain about long queues and massive overcrowding.
I popped in to see the exhibition last weekend and was staggered at just how bad the crowd management was.
For a start, time slots are only ten-minutes apart. And there are way too many people allocated to each slot. The result is a logjam in the first room that never clears and only thins after security staff harangue people to skip it and ‘come back later.’ Which would be fine, except the crowds never abate.
Things get a bit better in the hangar-sized room housing the 37-metre Daish warship, the Roskilde 6. But by that stage you’ve skipped ¾ of the exhibition just to get a bit of breathing space.
There are plenty of options the museum could consider to try and ease the congestion – longer time slots, staggered group sizes, multiple entry points into the exhibition. But it seems that the museum has used timed entry as a means of squeezing more paying customers in rather than to enhance their experience while they are there.
And as the vitriol being poured on the museum on TripAdvisor shows, that kind of thinking only ever ends badly.