Illustration: James Graham

The diary of a local museum director

Issue 113/10, p18, 01.10.2013
Part 10
That’s it… time to quit. Just had an end-game ding-dong with the chairman; malicious letters to the local rag and some nasty banner headlines. Turns out their source was an ex-employee who I sacked for being a vexatiously homophobic bully.

“Gallery of Lung Death?” accused us of infecting the public with asbestosis.

Allegedly, a railway carriage in our open store was leaking doses of asbestos into the public domain. Finding sprinklings of powder under the vehicle, we closed the museum, collected the powder, sent it for analysis. Lab reports came back identifying talc, plain flour and baking powder. Ha, ha, very funny. Not.

Then came: “Bomb Ticking in Museum”. Granted, we store nitrate film and have a defused Luftwaffe incendiary device. But we meet our insurer’s risk requirements; the chances of explosions are small.

The final straw was: “From China with Dove: Curator’s Jolly Brings Back Bird Flu”, citing me as the latter-day Typhoid Mary of avian H5N1.

Each headline triggered an FOI request, board meetings and a damage-limitation plan.

My chairman isn’t prepared to back me and so, this is my Robert Graves moment. It’s officially goodbye to all that.

“Won’t you miss all those trips to the smoke, to self-abase at ACE, to implore HLF, to be patronised by national museum directors, shafted by civil serpents and misled by ministers?” asked my trusty PA.

No. I’m out, along with 6,000 of my discarded truly great and never-spiritually redundant museum colleagues.

If bankers can turn their backs on humanity, so can I.

Last one out, hide the fuse.