I visit the NMM a number of times a year to attend a function but this was my first time visiting the museum. You can't fault the building or its facilities; clean, warm and well run. The staff were friendly, helpful if not a little deaf, more of that later. The museum itself was room after room after room of row after row after row of highly polished, highly restored (over restored?) British motorbikes in regimented lines so tightly packed together I doubt if space could be found to fit another one in. And basically that's it. No audio / video, no film archive to see or hear these machines in action, no pre-restoration models, no sight of the restoration process, no mention of British motorcyclists; Barry Sheene, Joey Dunlop, Bill Ivy, Phil Read, Sammy Millar, nothing, just row upon row upon row of highly polished, highly restored motorcycles. For much of the visit we were the only couple in the museum save for the man polishing polished petrol tanks and mudguards. He might have enjoyed his portable CD playing churning out Muzak at full volume, we certainly didn't. If he has to polish a polished mudguard and listen to Muzak please buy him an MP3 player. How much better if there was an archive video of, say, a Manx Norton doing what it does best at full chat for instance. How much better to also have seen a bike in bits, the restoration process, how a wheel is trued, a magneto working etc etc rather than just row upon row upon row...
There was a few square meters dedicated to the disastrous fire, this would have warranted half a hall to itself. There are two floor to ceiling silver cabinets, I couldn't, and I doubt if many could, read any of the inscriptions and was that Barry's crash helmet? No note to tell me I was right or wrong.
A sign says there are 250+ bikes awaiting restoration, let us see a few.
Full full marks to the driving force behind the museum and particularly it's rebuild but please revisit your presentation policy. The sight sense is well catered for with row upon... but sound, touch and smell (oh for a wiff of R40) are completely ignored.
Don't take your kids, there is nothing at all for them to do other than look at row upon row upon...
This should really be a 5-star experience and with some work it could be. I felt my visit only warranted 3-stars but given my respect and admiration for the people behind this National treasure I'll give it 4-stars.
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