Earlier this year, my husband and I visited the Asheville Art Museum with our children. After paying for our admission, we were told that we were required to leave our infant carrier along with our diaper bag. The bag included medication for our infant daughter who has life-threatening allergies along with other items necessary to have on hand. We were told rather rudely that we would have to leave our carrier and diaper bag, and carry our 20-pound baby for the duration of our visit.
The reason we were provided was due to our lack of “spatial awareness.” My husband and I each have two graduate degrees and teach at the university level, so we are well aware of the need to understand students with special needs who have disorders that affect their “spatial awareness,” including dyspraxia. Would those, according to this explanation, be refused admittance for their problems with “spatial awareness?” It seems more likely to me that a member of the museum’s staff saw a family with young children and did not want us to enter and enjoy our local museum.
This week, my two older children and I visited the museum. From the time we entered, we were followed by a museum staff member. After two hours, the staff member approached my children and instructed, very disrespectfully, that they “calm down,” apparently because she felt that they were being too loud. We left immediately.
I have no plans to attend the museum and wonder if other families in our community in an effort to promote cultural awareness in their children have been provided the same treatment. Perhaps, if children are going to be treated this way, followed incessantly throughout the duration of their visit under the glaring eyes of staff members who are seemingly anticipating unruly behavior, then the Asheville Art Museum should consider changing its ages of admission.