Don’t you just love velvet ropes? They can do so many things, and are such a sophisticated and chic way of saying “keep out,” especially when compared to their obnoxious cousin, yellow police tape.
Just think about it the next time you are at the bank, waiting in that roped-off line, zig-zagging back and forth. Unfortunately, velvet has largely been replaced by that black, retractable seatbelt stuff. But if your bank is swanky enough, you may still find yourself surrounded by that elegant velvet rope. Just glide your fingertips along it a bit, and I defy you to care all that much that your wait in line is 20 minutes long.
And then there is the velvet rope outside the club. It keeps the cool people in, and the not-so-cool out. But if you can’t get in the club, don’t hate the rope, hate the game. Besides, it’s the bouncer who makes the call whether your outfit is fly enough to get you in. The velvet rope is just doing its job, blind to those who enter.
There’s one more place where the velvet rope performs its duty with quiet dignity, and it does so while protecting priceless works of art – at the museum.
We all know that we could simply step around the rope and touch the painting. Most of us at one time or another have had that little devil on our shoulder whispering softly in our ear, “just touch it.” If anything, the velvet rope serves to remind us of the civility of our world. One where sane people choose to follow the rules of order, rather than the anarchy of chaos.
But there is one museum that has no velvet ropes. In fact, it encourages us (especially children) to use all five senses (although most parents discourage the use of taste). It’s the Please Touch Museum of Philadelphia. There, you are encouraged to interact with all of the exhibits. It’s no wonder that it is an extremely popular destination for families.
However, as of late the museum has encountered a metaphorical velvet rope in the form of money, or more accurately, a lack of money. Financial hard times have driven the museum to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Fortunately, chapter 11 bankruptcy does not necessarily mean the museum will be closing for good. The effect of the Please Touch Museum bankruptcy is a way of reorganizing a business. The court will help the museum restructure the way it operates, and it will force some of the museum’s creditors to take a loss so that it can continue to operate in the future without losing money.