Is it a Book or a Bed?

Much debate currently in the news about whether children should be allowed in museums following an art-accidentally-used-as-soft-play incident at the Tate Modern. Cue Kids in Museums waving the child-friendly flag and some other curmudgeonly types saying ‘Shhh! Children should be seen and not heard!‘. Not in Peckham though – see here cousin babies Olaf and Ada Ngaio playing happily on a giant book-shaped bed, aka the Bookbed.

Created by artist Ruth Beale (name not just a coincidence, she’s my talented sister) at the Peckham Platform in South London, Bookbed invites you to explore the library in the context of 21st century technologies with a giant bed as it’s centrepiece (that you can lie on, take in the world, read a book). You can have a go at the creative writing challenges using the ‘self-publishing station’ of an old fashioned typewriter, read books from the shelves, join in with workshops and talks, or, if you are a book group, use the space for free during the period of the exhibition.

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12 thoughts on “Is it a Book or a Bed?

  1. Ooh that is fab. love properly interactive art. Had to go and read the piece about the Tate as well, and have to say I wouldnt let my kids climb on exhibits there- but it does look rather climbable doesnt it! I wouldn’t want to see kids banned from museums, I think they are enjoyable for all, but perhaps in light of some parents not taken a sensible approach some ‘Do not touch’ signs may do the trick!

  2. Ban children from museums…. I’ve never heard anything so mad in all my live, it’s where they learn so much more about the world, history, science and so much more.
    The bookbed display looks great fun…

    • How are children going to learn about respecting, understanding and valuing art if they are not allowed to experience it? Lots of research shows that children who are taken to galleries and museums as children continue that relationship through to adults, whereas those who don’t – well, they just don’t think that galleries and museums are for them.

  3. That looks lovely. I would not want to see children banned from museums but having said that I have seen many children screaming and touching everything they aren’t supposed to be and I guess maybe a few exhibits that are really precious and not related to children could be kept for older children/adults only.

    • Tate Modern’s new children’s gallery answers some of those needs… and I’m all for ‘adult only’ evenings when you can experience the museum or gallery at a tranquil time, glass of wine in hand.

    • I was back there at the weekend… the gallery staff say that there’s certain families who come in for a play every week – they knew all of their names. So sweet!

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