Thursday, January 01, 2015

"It's a house, not a museum"

It's a house, not a museum

Ever heard that before? On internet discussions about shoes-off rules, somebody on the shoes-on side usually makes this comment.

Logically one would think that this entails that removing shoes in a museum is normal, while removing shoes in an house is not. Have the people making this comment ever been required to remove their shoes in a museum? I have. It was in a museum devoted to Sumo Wrestling in Japan. In a country where removing shoes in public buildings is common, like Japan, one will find museums with a shoes-off rule. You might perhaps find them in a country with harsh winters, like Canada or Norway. However, you would have to search hard to find such a museum in the UK or the USA.

There are some very significant differences between museums and houses. A museum is likely to get a constant stream of foot traffic from visitors. Hence, contrary to the statement above, one would actually expect a carpet in a museum to be a lot dirtier than a carpet in an house.

You are not very likely to sit down on the floor of a museum. Nor are your children likely to spend much time playing on the floor of a museum, or at least you would prefer they did not. You won't be eating in a museum. You won't be walking barefoot on the floor of a museum, unless it is one of those rare museums we mentioned with a no-shoes rule.

A museum is also likely to have a dedicated team of cleaners working there every day. You might be fortunate enough to be able to afford one cleaner to visit your house once a week. but this is too expensive for many families.

Having a shoes-off rule in a museum might not be a bad idea, but you have a lot more reasons for wanting shoes-off in your house.


Mark said...

I went to a museum in Budapest which had beautiful marble floors and it was required to remove your shoes.
Incidentally, i have been in Northumberland for a month now and two people from the city have called me OCD for requiring shoes to come off!!
Most bizarre.

Matthew Celestis said...

That's a shame. I'm sure it would be more accepted down south.

Mark said...

I was surprised.My house is in the country and every visitor has removed their shoes automatically. I have done the same when visiting and i not seen any "raised eyebrows"
Its also totally incorrect to associate shoe removal with OCD.

Bob said...

I agree Mark asking visitors to remove their shoes is certainly not OCD. To my wife and I it is as common place as leaving an umbrella at the door and removing ones coat.
The other day my wife went to the home of a woman she had recently met. She was greeted at the door saw the woman was in slippers and immediately removed her shoes. The woman thanked her and asked how she knew. My wife simply responded well you are wearing slippers and that is what I do in my own home.
Very simple no big deal

Ashley said...

I beg to differ. For some of us, removing our shoes is more like removing our pants than removing our coats. And yes, it is OCD.

Mark said...

Hi Bob
Yes we always wear slippers.Its just too cold here not to do so. Its also just about the most effective way of keeping your carpets clean.
As I said earlier, all of our guests so far have brought slippers to change into.

Bob said...

Hi Mark, not as common here to bring slippers to change into. A few of my wife's friends have brought fancy slippers to wear if we are having a dinner party but most especially the men just go in sock/stocking feet.
The woman I mentioned in my previous post offered my wife slippers.

Mark said...

Bob, I suspect that the UK climate makes it necessary to have slippers. I am in the very rural north of England and the weather is very wild. Our wooden floors are simply too cold to walk on without slippers.

Robert said...

I can understand if it were slippers, but please don't make me go around your home in just socks.