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“Uninformed, unwelcoming & unfriendly :(”
Review of Museum in the Park

Museum in the Park
Ranked #3 of 40 things to do in Stroud
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Museum in the Park is set in the beautiful grounds of Stratford Park in Stroud, Gloucestershire. Situated in a Grade II listed 17th Century wool merchant’s house; our collection tells the fascinating story of the Stroud District’s rich and diverse history. With over 4,000 objects on display, including dinosaur bones, historical paintings and even one of the world’s first lawnmowers, there is something to spark the interest of all of our visitors! In addition to the main displays in the mansion house, we have our modern extension which houses a small gift shop and café area, alongside a modern, purpose-built art gallery showing a varied programme of exhibitions. Behind this is Stroud’s ‘secret garden’ - a contemporary Walled Garden that will amaze and may well cause you to say 'wow'!
Reviewed 31 May 2014

I visited this local museum with two of my children along with some friends and their children during the recent half term school holiday. We had chosen to visit here because of the typical changeable British weather, so we wanted somewhere which had indoor things to do - but also where the boys could run around a bit if the weather permitted.

As the weather was sunny when we all arrived we decided to let the boys run off some excess energy outside for a while. They were all excitable and noisy and had a good time playing in the walled garden area of the museum (which is lovely).There are some faces attached to the walls in the garden area and I was intrigued by this and went inside to ask about them. I was given a card with pictures of the faces on and names underneath the pictures. The title of the exhibit was clearly marked on the card as 'Facing the Millennium' We adults took time looking at the card, seeing if there were names we could recognise - Jilly Cooper sadly being the only one. We guessed that there must be some significance (surely?) in who was depicted, so I went inside to ask. I was told that they had no information on it - after all, 'it was over 14 years ago'. This was said in a not very friendly tone and was quite dismissive - I felt like I was asking a stupid question. I'm not sure that the British Museum in London takes this attitude on exhibits... I think that if they can manage to have far more information on a exhibit which dates back to 3500BC (such as an Egyptian mummy) then surely the Museum in the Park can manage to have some information (other than that they were all local people) on an exhibit which is only 14 years old! Hence the 'uninformed' part of my title....

Our children were aged between almost 5 (next month) and 8. They are all friends and would generally be described by those who know them as intelligent children who are not badly behaved. They certainly were not bored at the prospect of looking around the museum. We took a leisurely approach to our tour - we weren't in any hurry. Our first encounter with volunteer staff during our tour was in one of the downstairs rooms - one of the children was sat on a chair. They were told not to sit on it as it was part of the exhibition. However, it was not marked in any way as 'do not touch/ do not sit here', unlike other items in the same room. No further information about it was forthcoming - National Trust volunteers (where items are marked appropriately) are (in my experience) happy to explain why people shouldn't sit on an item (age, wear and tear etc) - children are happy to take notice of this - but enquiring minds usually like to have an explanation of WHY they can't do something. The general air of the volunteer concerned was unwelcoming, officious and slightly standoffish - we appeared to be being a nuisance.

With 5 children between 3 adults we easily kept track of them all at any time - any stragglers were still under the attention of one of us at all times. Yes, they were not the quietest of children and we were aware of this. However, their behaviour was not in any way wayward - they merely took an excited interest in what was around them. We did remind them if the volume reached the louder end of the scale to be quiet - but felt watched by staff at all times. Staff also told our children to be quiet and even asked one (in quite an intimidating manner, inches away from their face) as to why they were shouting - when they weren't actually shouting, just talking loudly. They were also told that they couldn't play with one of the games in the brewery/ pub games room, even though they were under direct supervision of one of us.

We ended up in an apparently dedicated play area, with toy trains and puzzles. This was set slightly away from the other rooms and we commented amongst ourselves that perhaps (at last) here the boys could play without being told off. However, we were repeatedly checked upon by a member of staff who walked past us at what seemed to be two minute intervals. Finally they came in to us and started to say something - at which point we told them that we were leaving.

I made a brief comment in the Visitors Book about our experience. I hope it stays there for others to see - I did note that the staff on reception turned the book around to read it as soon as I had finished writing.

To end - a quote from the Museum's own website: "Here at the Museum we are very proud to have something to offer visitors of all ages and we enthusiastically welcome families and groups." Sadly this was not our experience last week - and the volunteers appeared to be lacking in the 'sense of humour' which is all which is apparently required to be one (again from their website'. This is not a place that I'd visit again nor recommend to anyone else.

4  Thank MrsG1970
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a ReviewReviews (184)
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"local history"
in 19 reviews
"walled garden"
in 24 reviews
"free entry"
in 12 reviews
"school holidays"
in 7 reviews
"well worth a visit"
in 14 reviews
"temporary exhibition"
in 4 reviews
"changing exhibitions"
in 4 reviews
"younger visitors"
in 3 reviews
"many aspects"
in 3 reviews
"interesting exhibits"
in 3 reviews
"local area"
in 5 reviews
"laurie lee"
in 4 reviews
"little gem"
in 6 reviews
"all ages"
in 8 reviews
"great activities"
in 2 reviews
"well laid out"
in 2 reviews
"school room"
in 2 reviews

143 - 147 of 184 reviews

Reviewed 29 May 2014

I met some friends here during May half term thinking it would be great for the kids. BIG MISTAKE. Between us three mums we had 5 children who are all great friends but they were definitely not welcome here, let alone allowed to enjoy themselves in this museum. They were 'shushed' numerous times and although the kids were rather loud (there's five of them) they were not misbehaving, touching anything that they shouldn't or knocking anything over. They were enthusiastic and interested in what we were there to see. We were followed around by 'volunteers' who brought to life Roald Dahl's "the witches", "They hate children with a red-hot sizzling hatred". This is how we were made to feel. There was no interaction between the staff and children apart from evil eyes and shushing. My 4 year old was told that he couldn't play the draughts game that was in the games room as he might "lose the pieces". Pathetic. How could he possibly lose a piece if we were being watched like hawks (or witches)?! We're not scruffy. We're not chavs who might have no regard for the items in the museum. Our children are well behaved and treat things and people with respect and manners, it's a shame the staff are not the same.

1  Thank Nessie801
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 May 2014 via mobile

We visited the museum during half term. The museum itself is lovely however the staff are rude, uninformed, uninterested and unwelcoming. Admittedly our boys are not the quietest however if a museum is targeted at a family market it must expect to welcome excited children. They were repeatedly told to be quiet and rudely told to get off the exhibits (signs would have helped!). The children were not misbehaving they were just trying to enjoy the museum and each others company. A nice day out marred by unnecessary unkindness!

1  Thank Dolly1889
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 April 2014 via mobile

Went to museum in the park on wed 23rd April 2014, it has some beautiful grounds and the interior of the museum is just as nice.
It has some quirky little facts and connections referencing the stroud area and it occupied us for a good hour and a half.
My son (5), was sent on an easter hunt by museum staff, who were more than friendly and very helpful.
Great time had by all, definitely a way to fill time gaps.

1  Thank Amy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 12 April 2014

Excellent welcome. Interesting exhibits. Good coffee. Nice surroundings. Friendly staff.
Superb exhibitions and activities

Thank TCC28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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