The One Where the Doors Open

Untold Stories of the Forest City

September 2019 marks the 18th year of Doors Open London, a weekend long celebration of history across London’s various museums, heritage and cultural sites. The best part? Its entirely free! It is the perfect way to spend the weekend and explore London.

Some of the sites included:

  • Banting House
  • Fanshawe Pioneer Village
  • CBC London
  • 1st Hussars Museum
  • London Music Hall of Fame
  • Museum London
  • and many more!

Check out the full list of sites here.

On a spontaneous whim, my friend and I decided to participate and attend one of the local museums and we decided to look into Museum London.

What’s The Score?

One of the most interesting exhibits at the museum was the What’s the Score? Sheet Music from the Collection exhibition. The exhibition showcased an impressive collection of sheet music donated to Museum London by Olive Carty and Irene Brown. [1]

Nearly 100 sheet music covers are displayed in this exhibition, with the writers and history of the specific score displayed right next to it. Some sheet music had a small asterisk next to the song which indicated that museum goers could look up the score on Youtube.

One such score was “I’m Going to Follow the Boys”, take a look for yourself!

This is an interesting way to have museum goers interacting with the displays. Rather than just looking at the cover art, we are given the chance to listen and see what kind of music women such as Carty and Brown were interested in.

“Where words fail, music speaks.”

Hans Christian Andersen

The music someone listens to or collects speaks to their personality, their thoughts, beliefs, values, aspirations and much more! Through this exhibit, we can catch a brief glimpse into the home of middle-class Londoners in the late 19th and early 20th century. [2]

As interesting as the exhibit was, it has much more potential to really impact museum goers! When I got home, attempting to find the song “I’m Going to Follow the Boys” proved difficult as all that Youtube wanted to show me was songs from Fall Out Boy.

Rather than using an asterisk to indicate which songs are available to listen to on Youtube and having the user search for the song, the museum could have used QR codes. QR codes are very easy to make and generators for these codes are abundant online. They allow you to put the desired link into the necessary field, generate the code and you have yourself a unique code that will lead right to the designated link! This technique still utilizes the smartphone and users would only need their phone’s camera app (some older models of phones might need a special app, but many smartphones are coming out with QR code capability built into the phone!). Place the QR code right beside the cover and smartphone users will have immediate access to the songs, rather than having to search on Youtube and hope to come across the correct link!

Other than that one critique of the exhibit, the museum is a worthwhile visit! With a collection of stunning paintings including work by the Group of Seven and an eye-opening exhibit on prejudice called Difficult Terrain, Museum London has an exhibit for everyone. I am incredibly glad that my friend and I decided to take advantage of door’s open this weekend and Museum London was the perfect choice!

Until next time!

~ Kat


[1] “What’s the Score? Sheet Music from the Collection.” Exhibitions – Museum London. Accessed September 14, 2019.

[2] Ibid

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Margaret Dingwell says:

    I liked your suggestion to use QR codes, they definitely make sense as a way to make sure people can easily get to the website you want to send them to. I do find them a little intimidating personally (no idea why but oh well), but probably would make life a little easier.


  2. Jared Schutt says:

    Hey Kat, I’m really glad you got to check out Museum London, and I loved your write-up on the exhibits. I’m doing my RA-ship there, so I went and toured the exhibits a couple of weeks ago. I also found the interactive component of the sheet music exhibit to be very interesting (as you can see from my first blog post, I’m all about incorporating interactive exhibits into museums), but, like you, I also struggled to find some of the songs when I searched for them. Your QR code suggestion sounds perfect for this exhibit! I’m actually working with the curator on the next exhibit for that space, and I’ll be sure to think about how I can do something similar (but better, with your suggestion).

    I’d love to hear more about your thoughts on the other exhibits, especially “Difficult Terrain.” When my girlfriend and I saw that exhibit, we found it incredibly powerful and moving. Unfortunately, it was just taken down to make room for a new installation, so it’s good you got to see it!


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