Who does the writing for museums and public spaces?

19 August, 2008 at 12:33 pm | Posted in Documentation | Leave a comment

A couple of weeks ago I had some time off to visit museums and other public places with my husband and daughter. I was appalled by the number of instances of poor punctuation, and the misuse of words, that we all spotted on exhibit captions and descriptive panels in just about every location we went to. I lost count of the number of times I read things like “the animal disappears into it’s burrow at the first sign of danger” (and if you can’t see what’s wrong with that…!)

Many other people have lamented the poor standard of literacy generally, in lots of other publications, and I’m not going to repeat what they say. But, in my view, for places which are likely to be the subject of schools’ educational visits to be openly displaying errors is unforgiveable. Children are likely to copy the text and will assume it to be correct, thus perpetuating the mistakes.

I wonder who is responsible for proof-reading the display panel wording in these establishments. Why don’t they employ someone who actually knows how to punctuate, and understands the difference between “access” and “assess”?

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