Museums hit the front pages in big style towards the end of October as the Duchess of Cambridge rose from her sick-bed to present the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards at the Natural History Museum with Sir David Attenborough, closely followed by HM The Queen opening the Information Age gallery at the Science Museum.

Your blogger joined some 350 others at the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Clore Duffield Foundation at the Royal Opera House in the same week. No royalties there but plenty of glitz from the lady herself, Dame Vivienne Duffield CBE, honoured by a line-up of worthies including Nicholas Serota, Darcey Bussell and Placido Domingo, no less.

In the same week, I was in one of the latest Clore Learning Centres on a half day workshop for adults about the contemporary theatre at the National Theatre’s smallest theatre, now known as the Dorfman.

I lamented the loss of the original name, the Cottesloe, but someone pointed out that it was just the name of the chairman of the board at the time. Lloyd Dorfman of Travelex has given at least £10m to the National’s popular £15 ticket scheme.

While I tend to agree with those who are against the American way of naming galleries and theatres after philanthrophists, some come to take on a meaning beyond their origin, like the Booker Prize for example.

And I think that this applies to the Clore Learning Centres. There are now 50 of these purpose built educational spaces, many in museums and galleries. And there is no stopping Vivienne Duffield, whose foundation combined with that of her father’s, Sir Charles Clore, has given more than £100 million pounds to arts and heritage charities in the UK, as well as to other causes here and in Israel.

Also on my radar

The Name of the Game – in Nottingham and Edinburgh
Years ago, some foresighted museum curators started collecting video games at the Design Museum, at the Science Museum and no doubt elsewhere. Now video and computer games will get their own museum, in Nottingham, where the National Videogame Arcade is due to open in the Spring of next year, billed as the national centre for videogame culture. The £2.5m museum will feature some of the 20,000 items from the Science Museum collection.

But you don’t have to wait until then if you’re a fan. At the National Museum of Scotland, Game Masters opens at the beginning of December and is guaranteed to be a hit over Christmas and New Year with boys and their dads (mainly – but there are girls and grown women who also enjoy these games).

It will feature arcade games of the late 1970s and early 1980s and spotlights pioneering designers such as Shigeru Miyamoto (Donkey Kong), Tomohiro Nishikado (Space Invaders), Ed Logg (Asteroids), and Toru Iwatani (Pac-Man), all of which you will be able to play in the old school Game Masters arcade. The exhibitions also includes later designers, many of them Scottish. So play away.

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