Series about museums struggling to connect with a modern audience. At London's Freud Museum, changes are under way to make Freud more appealing to ordinary people.
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Did you see some of these phallic symbols?
I don't know what this says about me psychologically, I like that one!
He's very well endowed.
This is the former home of Sigmund Freud,
one of the most influential minds of the 20th century.
Freud made us aware that we're all driven by the power
of the subconscious,
and how our dreams have meanings that can be interpreted.
Freud's discoveries gave birth to modern day therapy
and in doing so, have touched the lives
of countless people around the world.
Is it OK if he puts his hat on?
Because his hat is cool.
-I'll keep my hat on.
Freud's home is now a museum
but it's unlike any museum you're likely to visit.
It's not full of display cabinets or written texts.
Instead it's a tiny, eccentric piece of the 19th century.
It's as though Freud never left.
-Would that have been how it was?
-Yes, that's how it was.
-That's exactly how it was.
-You can sense his presence, almost.
-Yes, yes, yes.
-And the presence of the patients.
-Smells like what?
-Does it smell like old people?
-Yeah. Can't you smell it?
For years the museum has been a pilgrimage
for intellectuals, therapists, and students of psychology.
But now a new director is going to be appointed.
She needs to make the museum more popular and less elitist.
All of this could really do with quite a kind of radical rethink.
One of the ways is to draw on Freud's more shocking theories.
-THEY ALL LAUGH
And women suffer from penis envy.
Which I rather doubt as well!
But might popularising Freud
run the risk of destroying the museum's unique charm?
People do not really like simple answers in the end.
In fact, you're insulting them by offering them simplicities.
And will making changes create tensions amongst the staff?
Oh well, everybody else, but when it's something up in here,
nobody gives me a copy of anything.
In this series I've set out to examine how struggling museums
are trying to reconnect with the British public.
I want to know how they can be preserved for future generations.
I would actually like, before I die,
for something to happen!
Ivan Ward joined the museum in 1987, a year after it opened.
Nearly every day for the past 23 years, he gives a talk to students
who are covering Freud as part of their psychology degree at college.
He tells them about Freud's most important work,
The Interpretation Of Dreams, which was written in 1900.
Every single person on the planet dreams every night.
So it's something that's completely normal
and it's a bit weird.
You know? It's that sense, isn't it? Completely normal and a bit...
Of course Freud was interested, in something that's universal
Freud had discovered that our dreams were simply realisations of things
that we wanted to happen in life, "wish fulfilments" he called them.
Anyone had any good dreams last night?
I had an interesting dream but it's too embarrassing to tell!
Let's just put it this way,
there was a programme on TV last night about male gigolos.
Did anyone see it? No.
My dream had a lot to do with that.
Anyway... HE CLEARS HIS THROAT
For Ivan, working at the museum is more of a calling than a job.
It does have a quality like somebody might think about the Bible.
And there's something about that, I think,
in the way that I relate to Freud.
In a biblical sense?
In a sense of the text,
The standard edition of Freud's work.
I want you to have a new experience that you've never had before
and give it a name.
I've been in analysis, not now, but for a long time.
Would Ivan describe himself as a happy person, generally?
it's not something, not a term I'd normally use.
So have an explore and I'll see you in a bit.
After the talk, Ivan sends the students off around the house.
There's no particular structure to the visit.
Instead people are encouraged to wander around
and soak up the atmosphere.
Remember what Ivan said right at the start about dreams?
-What was Freud interested in?
-They're linked to your life.
-There they are, there are the wolves.
As I walk around the museum with the students,
I notice just how worn it looks in places.
It really feels as if I've been invited into someone's home,
but that the owners are out.
Upstairs you can watch the Freud family's old home movies,
and next door there's a room
which celebrates the life of his daughter, Anna Freud.
On the ground floor, just off the hallway,
is the most important part of the museum.
It's Freud's study.
-This is where the magic happened.
This is where he got inside your head.
The study has remained almost untouched since Freud was alive.
The chair at his desk was designed for him specially by a friend
so that he could sit with his leg dangling over one of the arms.
On his desk there are many antiquities he collected.
For Michael Molnar, a former director of the museum,
there's one very special artefact in the study.
This is probably the most famous piece of furniture in the world.
It's the couch on which Sigmund Freud
discovered, if you want, or invented psychoanalysis.
Underneath, it's a very undramatic piece of furniture.
It is, in fact, the carpet that makes it what it is,
the Qashqai rug which makes it such an exotic piece.
You could say it's something like...
When you go below the cultured, textured surface,
you get something which is quite common.
These were the drives underneath, or something like that.
You could go on.
The people who lay on this couch
have become some of the most famous test cases
in the history of medicine.
The sight of it, for some, is an overwhelming experience.
He was very important in my life.
He helped me to understand myself, you know?
-He helped you understand yourself?
In the offices on the top floor,
Michael now researches the life of Freud.
There's bits of archive, books here, a photo or two.
That's the Park Row Building, New York in 1909,
that was just before he travelled to Worcester, Massachusetts
to give the lectures on psychoanalysis
which was the beginning of psychoanalysis in the United States.
He also went to Blackpool when he was in England, the year before.
Michael met his partner Rita at a Freud conference in Brazil
in the 1980s and she now works at the museum.
Did you fall in love with Michael straight away?
SHE LAUGHS Straight away!
No, it doesn't really work like that.
No, not straight away.
We started talking straight away, yes.
I don't really know how it is, it's just a chemistry that happens.
I just don't know.
Is that right, Michael? It's a chemistry that happens?
There's quite a lot about chemistry in early Freud.
Michael is an expert on Freud the man
and Ivan is an expert on Freud's work.
And to me, that might explain why the museum felt
just a little bit highbrow.
I'm a medical doctor and psychologist.
I'm an academic and I use Freud in my teaching and thinking.
The problem is the museum is aimed at Freudian academics,
not the general public. And it's very pro-Freud,
even though in recent years he's fallen out of fashion
in the psychology world.
It's quite interesting.
Confirms all my worst prejudices.
As a modern practising psychologist, you think of theories like
a penis envy and Oedipus complex, do you think that's just claptrap?
Personally, I don't...
I certainly wouldn't really support them.
But the idea of free association could be useful as a way
of getting to the aspects of human cognition
that aren't easily reportable
or readily accessible to the individual.
I'm surprised to learn there are even people working in the museum
who take Freud's findings with a large pinch of salt.
It's all very disrespectful, really.
You can stick your feet inside Freud's head.
What's the thinking behind that?
Well, they're very comfortable.
Paula and Dominique sell various jolly Freudian souvenirs,
such as a pen with a floating couch.
And women suffer from penis envy.
Which I rather doubt as well!
That theory doesn't hold much weight with you two, I take it?
-No, no, not really.
Although he was interested in the anthropology of his time, I don't
think he took enough cognisance of the idea that societies form people.
The shop is one of the key sources of income
along with visitors paying on the door
and a grant from an American foundation.
I have a memento of everywhere I go, as a finger puppet.
You should see my fridge! It's completely covered.
It makes me realise that Freud is as commercially viable
for his oddball controversial ideas
as he is for his celebrated, groundbreaking ones.
Someone who can see the commercial potential in all aspects of Freud
is the development officer, Marion Stone.
This is like treading grapes.
-There you are.
Something is happening!
You do have to be a jack-of-all-trades.
So as much a technician, diplomat, administrator, manager,
fundraiser, marketeer, whatever else needs doing.
I can't make it work.
Marion's previous job was at a local history museum in Norfolk.
-Have you read The Interpretation Of Dreams?
-Most of it.
Not all of it, then?
No! No, unfortunately I found it slightly dogmatic
and difficult to swallow, and halfway through it,
I decided to start reading something else, a book called Against Therapy,
which was all the arguments against it which I thought
unfortunately engaged me much more.
I'm surprised such a key member of staff is not a Freud fan
but this means Marion can see
Freud in a different way to Ivan Ward and Michael Molnar.
She has a lot of energy and ideas.
For example, she and a researcher called Anna
have been given permission to hold a dating evening in the museum
for some of London's many single people.
We're exploring different ways of people engaging with the museum,
and reaching different audiences. So, because we're nervous
about how that'll work, and that we're dealing with things
like psychosexual development, you know,
not your usual chit-chat of an evening!
We just want to test out the ideas.
Marion gets some friends and staff members together
to try out a few risque games they'll
be playing on their dating night later in the summer.
Anna creates a game based on
Freud's five stages of psychosexual development in a child,
and she explains the oral and anal stages to Dominique.
So the idea is that some people get stuck in the oral stage from
-drinking the mother's breast milk, the idea of the bottle.
And then there's the potty-training stage.
-What does it mean, potty-training?
-When you're teaching a child
how to go to the toilet.
-It's the whole thing of what is poo.
-The early stages of coming to terms
with their own excrement and what it is.
-The idea is they want to nurture it.
-It belongs to them.
How many people talk about excrement on a romantic evening?
This isn't going to be an ordinary dating experience.
There are two ends in a sense. A goal there and a goal there.
Four people in a row and...
Another game they rehearse for the dating night
is free association football,
a word association game only with a cheeky, sexual slant.
Ready? So, penis.
It's hoped Freud's obsession with human sexuality
will be the perfect backdrop
for some midsummer flirtations in a few weeks' time.
They've only got the half-second as it comes towards them
-to think of the word.
-And that is working.
It's great to see everything that... made Freud who he was
in a physical sense as well as reading his work.
-What do you think?
-I think it's fascinating, yes.
-Yes, I do.
-I think it's amazing.
-It's quite cool.
I was expecting it to be a bit more modern
because he only died 30 or 40 years ago.
But it's like a million years old. But it's nice.
-Does this really seem old to you?
-Yes, it's so old.
-It doesn't seem that old.
-But the ceiling's modern.
-They would have redone that?
In a few days' time, a new director will be put in charge
of the Freud museum.
This new person will need to find a way of balancing
the different views of Ivan Ward, Marion Stone and Michael Molnar.
I'd like you to swap with him, if you may?
These three all want the museum to succeed
but at times they can seem quite chaotic.
Like this photo shoot for the museum's website.
Am I looking studious?
You're looking studious, you're looking at Ivan.
He's talking to you, please pay attention to him.
The staff are supposed to be posing as business people,
in the hope the museum will get used for corporate hire.
Are they separate key-words?
-So people just put "Sigmund" in?
-Yes, yes. Those are in order..
People put "Sigmund" in?
Each word on a Google search, you do a several word search.
But they can't get their heads around the idea
of pretending to have a meeting.
Can you stop having a meeting, please?
Concentrate on the photography that we're trying to do.
Shall I go and get some more paper?
The new Director will be joining a museum which is charming,
and a bit eccentric.
How many museums have their own dog, for example?
Everyone in the museum is bracing themselves for change,
and I hope whatever the new director chooses to do,
they don't destroy the museum's unique character.
A welcome party is held for the new director, Carol Seigel.
Many of you know me from a number of different jobs.
All these people from my past! LAUGHTER
And I don't like the way they're laughing, either!
But, for those of you who don't know me, I'm Carol Seigel,
and I'm pleased to say I'm Director of the Freud Museum.
I've only been here for a few weeks, but it's lovely to welcome you all.
Thank you for coming to our summer party. I think, English summer party!
Carol Seigel has no expertise in Freud,
but she's got an MA in Museum Studies
and has run several in the past.
I think everyone has been incredibly kind here.
Because I think it's not easy for staff to have some new person arrive.
And everyone has been so helpful and supportive.
Once the guests have gone,
I ask Carol to tell me what she wants to change about the museum.
Her main concern is the quotations from Freud's
"Interpretation of Dreams".
The captions, the way they are at the moment.
They could do with a bit of physical repair,
you can see that one is a bit torn.
But there are quite a lot of captions,
but without much explanation.
And a lot of visitors are very interested in
the whole dream question.
So we can give them more information, rather than less.
Upstairs there is one room she is particularly critical of.
It's a bit of a hotchpotch, without much explanation.
There's material in here where, again,
a lot of the captions are quite hard to read.
All of this could really do with quite a radical rethink.
Will you be making the decisions dependent on
whether it's got the support of the people who also work here?
I'm a consensual decision maker, I think, by instinct.
So I would hope that we would work through
and come to some agreed decisions
about how we want the room to look.
But that might be naive, I suspect there will be quite
a lot of arguments to be had along the way, and it will be a compromise.
The first time the rest of the staff get to hear Carol's vision
is at a trustees' meeting.
This is a museum that hasn't changed much since it was first opened.
With everyone listening intently, I can tell
Carol feels she needs to be very tactful as she lays out her vision.
I wouldn't want to be a bull in a china shop,
and say, "We need to be changing everything,"
but I do think there's scope for more explanation, more interpretation.
Particularly for people who've come here
who don't know a lot about the subject.
Carol's broad points are aimed at trying to bring more people
into the museum and, in particular,
people who aren't familiar with Freud.
I'm keen to find out where she gets her inspiration for change from,
and a few days later,
Carol invites me to the museum she had been in charge of.
It's about Hampstead's local history.
She wants to show me some examples of visitor interaction,
and thinks something similar might benefit the Freud museum.
It's fairly straightforward, the one that's on at the moment is a game.
The games that are the most popular.
So there's a number of different things that you can do.
They're all related to the displays here, on this touch screen.
And you can actually read through the history of Hampstead.
Ah, I see.
And we've also got some oral histories on this old Bakelite telephone which you can listen to.
What's quite interesting, when children come round,
what most amazes them is that this is a telephone at all.
It's not at all like most telephones that children see these days,
you actually have to dial!
-They don't recognise it?
-They don't recognise it as a telephone,
and they're intrigued by the fact that it is.
And that you do this.
-'And so we had a horse and cart.
'The little horse as called Snowball,
'she was a lovely little horse.'
So, do you think anything like this, or the touch screen,
-could be used in a Freud setting?
One of the things that I think will be important to look at
is how the displays in the house
can be deepened, how more information can be offered.
I think all these are going to be very interesting ways
of actually looking at how to strengthen
the interpretation in the house.
The whole museum is very slick and modern,
but back at Freud a mile or so down the road,
some people think it's better just the way it is.
There are certain things I do like about it.
I like the fact that people have to go down and look closely at things.
That's a kind of intimacy, going into something.
-You like that?
-Yes, I like that.
And I think a lot of people appreciate it.
Would you not change those, then?
Well, I would obviously make them a bit less tatty.
But you wouldn't make them less difficult to digest?
Are you saying they are difficult to digest now?
Well, they're kind of...
abstract in the sense that they're on their own, aren't they?
There isn't any explanation that goes with them?
I don't know if anybody has actually said, "I don't know what these are."
I don't think we've had many complaints.
Ivan isn't the only one who thinks making things easy is a mistake.
People don't really like simple answers in the end.
In fact, you are insulting them by offering them simplicities.
People are interested by complexity.
Why do people love detective fiction, you know?
You watch any evening television, complexity of plotting,
who's the killer, you know?
When you go into those stories, they're multi-layered and complex.
So we should be doing the same thing. People love it.
I must admit, after a few weeks even I am helping to explain
to visitors about the exhibits.
-Would that have been how it was?
-Yes, that's how it was.
That's exactly how it was?
It doesn't look very comfortable, to be truthful.
What he did is, you see the green chair? At the end of the couch?
-Oh there, yes.
-That's where he sat.
Evidently, he didn't like to have the patients looking at him.
I think what is also interesting about the room is,
-it's full of his things, isn't it?
Interestingly, all heads.
-There are a few phallic ones, too.
-Yes, in some of the cabinets.
You know about his theory of penis envy?
-Penis envy? Yes, he did have that.
-No, that was his theory.
That was his theory, yes, when I say he did have that.
I don't think HE had penis envy per se, it was his theory.
You have to be a woman to have that, don't you?
I don't know, I think a lot of men have it as well.
They're always wondering about the size of their friends
and colleagues, aren't they?
I do feel that there are huge topics to address.
Over the next few weeks, Carol spends time chatting to the staff
and finding out their opinions about change.
But with one group of workers, she needs to be particularly sensitive,
because the museum is not just a place of work, it's a home too.
The caretaker Alex Bento has lived at the house half his life
after moving here from Portugal in 1982.
For the last 24 years he's been the first person
into Freud's study every morning,
and the last person to leave at night.
So this is the plaque that Princess Alexander
opened 28th July, 1986.
When the museum opened, a small flat was built for him
on the ground floor where Freud's kitchen used to be.
He still lives there today with his son Danny and son-in-law Francisco.
What are you doing there?
Straight through, please. And get yourself a ticket in the shop.
Besides all the work he does getting the museum ready,
most days he watches the visitors on his two security monitors.
Many people try and take photographs of the study,
and some Freud fanatics even try and cross the rope cordon
and sit on the famous couch.
I can see from one side to the other side. I can see the full library.
As soon as you step over the runner, the alarm goes off.
If anyone steps over the rope, Alex is on to them in a flash.
Keep on the runner, please. Do not go over the runner. I just told you.
We see it from the camera there. See? There is a camera down there.
And when they come up and trip over, and they say, "No, I didn't move."
I say, "You did move, I saw you go in there."
In one way it's fun also, you know?
They are trying to lie to you. They say, "I've never been there."
I say, "Yes, you did."
As well as the cameras, there is the other security device,
but it's old and needs upgrading.
Bobby the guard dog.
He's been living with Alex in the flat for 15 years,
but he's now quite infirm.
It's not only about understanding or exploring the mind.
In recent times Bobby has been interfering
with some of the museum's many artistic and cultural events.
But onto mad, bad and sad, which is certainly informed by Freud,
and the history of psychoanalysis,
but has a far broader historical span.
-BOBBY BARKS IN BACKGROUND
-For me the Freud Museum
is a very, very special place.
Not only because of the magical objects -
the studio, the dog who barks through the talks!
But also because of the things you don't normally see
when you've just come for a visit.
Recording the museum's new audio guide
while Bobby is locked in the garden is not a good idea.
The dog, arrgh, the dog!
It's Bobby. He probably wants to come into the museum.
Can you phone Francisco?
The caretakers are nowhere to be found.
We haven't got a key to the garden, which is extraordinary.
-So I can't actually...
-This has to be changed.
-I think we have to have a key.
-This has to be changed.
There is nothing I can do until Francisco gets back.
Marion and Rita are annoyed they don't have a key to the garden,
but this gives me an insight into the relationship
between the office staff upstairs, and the caretakers downstairs.
Perhaps it is an uneasy arrangement.
But one thing is certain -
the caretakers keep the museum from falling apart.
They keep it presentable.
The office staff rely on them totally.
In fact, anything that needs doing to Maresfield Gardens
is done by Alex Bento and his family.
Just like Alex, Sigmund Freud brought his own family
to the house in 1938, just as the Nazis were moving into Austria.
His youngest daughter Anna filmed their journey
as they fled the Gestapo in the June of that year.
Now this is already Hitler in Vienna.
That's our house, look, with those swastikas on it.
Oh, and that is the crowds cheering Hitler.
Look at the crowd.
Being an intellectual and a Jew made Freud a real target for the Gestapo,
and some rich friends of his had to pay a big ransom
to secure his freedom.
Amazingly, he managed to get all his personal possessions
out of the country with him.
But, as I'm about to find out, not all of them are on display.
Because of his long time at the house,
Alex knows more about it than anyone.
On one occasion he says he wants to show me something
that belonged to Freud that has rarely been seen.
It's hidden away upstairs in a cluttered storage room.
That's Freud's umbrella.
Right. When was the last time that was exhibited?
Maybe...10 years, maybe.
-10 years ago?!
-May be 10, 8.
That's the one.
I'm amazed when he gets out Sigmund's old overcoat.
Do you think, though,
that they should put it back on the exhibition?
It's a nice piece.
People like to see it.
I get the sense Alex feels it isn't his place
to express opinions about the collection.
-Thank you for showing us.
But I agree with Alex that a coat might appeal to visitors
who are not Freud experts, and that is, after all,
what the museum is hoping to do.
And why it has recruited a new leader.
The new director, Carol, wants to get the process of change underway,
and she's holding a meeting with Ivan and Marion.
But there's lots of pressing items
including a new temporary exhibition.
It makes you want to just shoot yourself!
Well, I was just going to say, this is almost impossible, isn't it?
-Looking at this.
-It is impossible.
-Are we being ridiculous?
Are we just being overly ambitious in what, as a small museum,
with a small number of members of staff?
You've got this application to fill in by the 12th, you know?
Yes, and grant applications.
We do have to have some kind of exhibition in four weeks' time.
That has to happen.
For this exhibition, Ivan wants to put the items from one of Freud
cabinets on display, but Marion thinks it should be about myths.
I think the other one would be simpler.
Do you? I thought it would be easier to find myths.
You've got to write it, though.
Rewrite it. You've got to write your stuff from scratch.
You could do masses of theoretical work on what you're suggesting.
-I think both of us have a vision.
-I'm suggesting stuffing things in
and just letting people marvel.
With the just marvelling, what if they just don't get it?
You can't fail to get it.
You really cannot fail to get it, it's, like, extraordinary.
Is getting it enough, though?
If it's obvious?
I'm not arguing.
I'm just saying that a scattergun, hope for the best...
But we're not scattergun, that's why we're sitting here now.
Not scattergun, we're trying to say what we're trying to do,
-what we need to do.
-This is a classic Freud Museum argument,
which has no end to it.
We could either continue with the Mad Hatter's tea party,
or we can move on.
The meeting ends without a decision being reached.
I did wonder if the coat and umbrella that Alex showed me
might have been a good solution.
But something new is about to happen at the Freud Museum.
An event aimed at attracting a new, broader audience
is about to take place.
It's Marion Stone's dating evening,
"In your dreams."
There are going to be two nights.
The first is for under 40s, and the second for over 40s.
For just a few hours on a summer evening,
the guests will be given the keys to Freud's enchanting world.
They will be the temporary owners of his garden and his study.
Do you think the people who might be interested in this event
might be a little repressed?
I think some of them might be a little hysteric,
and some might be a little paranoid, they'll probably be mixed.
-But we don't want to...
-Hey, we're not judging!
I'm saying some of them MIGHT be, it's very tentative.
It's very Freudian language here.
Once the museum has closed for the day,
Marion and Anna have a rush on to get it ready
for the start of the party.
-Can you manage all that?
I've got no awareness of where I'm stepping now, actually.
Guests at the event will be invited to share their dreams with
one another in a special session held by Ivan in the exhibition room.
What's the blanket for?
-Just the idea of a dream sharing room.
-They're too close together.
Do people want to be this close?
They can sit round in a circle, can't they?
-But who is that person next to you, there?
-People can't just pull in
and sit how they want.
Why would you want to be that close to somebody?
Because it's a dating night!
Just literally inside here...
People start to arrive around 8 o'clock.
Then the games get underway.
-Loser! Oh, God, he's had another one!
I don't think it'll be good for him to have too much.
I just keep thinking about my Cocker Spaniels.
-No, no, no!
-He's drinking the beer.
-let him drink it.
-It's not a problem?
-It's not a problem?
They were worried, you see.
He's drinking too much at his age.
No. It's all right, keep him right there.
As the evening wears on people move inside.
Upstairs they gather to tell their dreams to Ivan.
The wine is relaxing people.
But many feel inhibited from talking,
so Anna fills the silence by describing a dream
she had involving all her ex-boyfriends.
I was looking for a bed, I really needed to sleep. So I knew I had
to make a decision about which of the beds I was going to fall into.
-And half the boys were asleep.
-Which one did you get into in the end?
There is one young couple who seem to have found romance.
One of the games allows them to go into Freud's study
for an intimate moment, although invite me in too,
and that makes it strange for all three of us.
What would Freud have to say about our relationship?
Do I remind you of your dad, for example?
A little bit.
Standing here surrounded by all his possessions and books,
I wonder how Freud would have felt about a dating night in his home?
I think your time is up.
Thank you very much indeed. Cheers.
Take care, goodbye.
I bet you have been interest in Freud too?
No, not really.
I got a Facebook invite and it looked quite entertaining.
I thought it would be quite a good way to meet interesting women.
-Have you met any?
I might go and talk to one right now, in fact.
For a few people maybe romance is on the cards
in this most unlikely of settings.
I feel the dating night has shown that Freud does have an appeal
to ordinary people.
But this has still only been one fleeting event, a one-night stand.
How is the museum going to find a way of attracting more people
like this to the house, but on a long-term basis?
I think the purpose of this meeting is to think about change
and how we achieve change.
The new director, Carol Seigel wants to make the museum more accessible
but she hasn't yet decided exactly how to do that.
..The ground we might go over today will be old ground,
revisiting subjects that have been discussed before.
At this meeting, is the chair of the museum's trustees, Lisa Appignanesi.
For people who don't know very much about Freud,
who have only heard the name in pop-culture,
it would be nice to give them a sense of the history up front.
Something of the ideas up front, in a visual way.
She has been pressing for change and wants to engage with a new audience
and that's why she appointed Carol.
In order to bring the people in you have to communicate
to the outside, something.
And what you will communicate will be the essentials about Freud,
and you will say to people, come here.
So by the time they come here, they will know about Freud.
I am not sure any more...
For museum faces a Catch-22 dilemma,
they want to attract visitors who don't know anything about Freud.
But if you don't know anything about Freud, why would you want to visit?
In Marion Stone's eyes this means the need for more audience research.
We also have a responsibility to talk to the people
we are actually doing this for.
-You mean the public?
-The public who do and don't come.
-I am worried about this.
-It is a very normal thing.
It does not mean you take all the views of the non-users
and that's what you go for.
It's part of the mix you are looking at.
ALL TALK AT ONCE
Let me tell you my worries, my worries are simply
the we are going to spend another two years in consultation
and thinking and nothing will happen.
I would actually like, before I die for something to happen.
The meeting ends with the decision to carry out more research
into what the public wants out of the museum.
I've been at Maresfield Gardens for a few a couple of months,
but I can already see why so little has changed in the last 25 years.
Everyone has a strong opinion about who the museum should be aimed at,
and yet at the same time
everyone respects everyone else's opinion equally.
Progress is slow.
I got a slight sense from you towards the end,
you feel a bit agitated that things aren't moving fast enough?
You have to understand, before you arrived on the scene,
what is it now? Two years ago, three years ago...?
Two and a half years ago perhaps,
we put this development plan into motion.
And I am rather an impatient person
and I would like to see things moving quickly.
I sometimes get irritated by...
this constant need for more focus groups, more asking of questions.
Because finally, much of what you find
is going to be something you already know.
But what you're getting, yes, is a sense of my...
wanting things to move and change.
I think they are, I think they've begun,
it's just that I'd like to move things on a bit.
-A little bit faster, maybe?
He's not well?
He hasn't been well for a while, but he looks very glossy today.
Maybe he's got a sun tan.
-He likes the sun.
-He's very old.
Don't do that!
Not a very Freudian thing to say, of course.
Freud had his dogs, too.
I'm sure they did the same thing.
Within a short time, a questionnaire is drawn up
to find out what people think about the museum.
How interesting did you find this house,
on a scale of nought to five?
-What sort of brochure did you find us in?
-It was the 2-4-1.
Oh, you came on the 2-4-1?
There is one person who hasn't been privy
to the conversations about change or the introduction of a questionnaire.
It is Alex the caretaker.
He is not an expert on Freud and he doesn't have a degree
in museum studies, but as I was to find out
that doesn't necessarily mean he didn't have strong feelings
about the museum.
On one occasion I witness an argument between Alex and Rita
over what seems like the most trivial of subjects - Bobby the dog.
He'd escaped and was found on route to Hampstead Heath.
If we was not here, they could take the telephone call,
we could call the lady back. But we was not here...
She said she was going to talk to you...
Rita had told the woman who found Bobby
that he is owned by the caretakers and this annoyed Alex.
But she wanted to speak to you.
-It's not my dog, and when you say it's my dog...
-She brought it back.
OK, I know that. Thank you.
Bobby, you go inside now.
The dog is not mine, that is what...
You said to me, the dog is mine and I don't like that.
Listen, this is not the right word to say, "the dog is yours".
I always thought that the dog was yours. You blamed someone...
You said, "Who let the dog out?"
Of course, who let the dog out?
But I didn't say it was you.
Who let the dog out?
Don't laugh at me like that, I don't like it,
you know? You know very well, I don't like it.
All the time, she is against me for some reason,
but I don't care about it.
No, she's not against you.
Yes, I know that, because she turned some of the volunteers
against me and Francisco.
-I just do my work.
-Of course you do.
I have the...proof.
And it's bad.
It's so dangerous for Bobby to be out.
He lives in their house, they feed it,
they take it to the vet. You could say it's their dog.
But since we pay those bills, that's how they read it as being our dog.
But it's a blurry line.
I would say it's their dog.
For the first time since my arrival at the museum, I get a sense
of real tension in the house.
The division seems between those upstairs and those downstairs -
between the thinkers and the doers.
'I suppose there is a feeling of us and them.'
You have people working in different places,
to different effects, so there is a sort of divide in what they do.
People who are upstairs don't spend so much time
at the coalface, as it were, with the public.
So, you get a different perspective on the museum, I suppose.
How does that manifest itself?
Presumably, in everything you've just said.
It's now raining, is your equipment all right?
If it rains much harder, it won't be.
I think it might. We should probably...go.
'Marion wasn't being very forthcoming
'but I get the impression the argument over Bobby could be evidence
'of a division that lies at the heart of Maresfield Gardens.'
It's as if I've touched a nerve and the staff become suddenly
very alarmed about the direction my documentary is going in.
I'm concerned about the weight you give.
It's not that you film or don't film, anything that happens is legitimate,
as far as I'm concerned.
It's just the question of, everything happens in the cutting room
as far as these things are concerned.
So, it's what weight you give to it,
what sort of commentary you put on it, your voiceover at this point.
It's the question of what's important in the end.
It's just a scale of values and what's going on.
Not to reduce it to... some sort of trivia.
We wait to see what the finished product's like.
We do, we do - all of us, I think!
If it's bad, we'll set Bobby on to you.
The caretaker's also become a bit wary of me.
This is frustrating,
as I have made an extraordinary discovery about Alex.
He didn't just arrive here when the house became a museum.
Alex was working at Maresfield Gardens
when the Freud family lived here.
Sigmund Freud died in 1939.
But his daughter Anna, who fled Nazi Germany alongside him,
lived on in the house.
WOMAN'S VOICE: This is already the garden, in Maresfield Gardens.
We had this couch put up for my father to rest.
Like her father, she was a psychoanalyst
and was hugely influential in the science of child psychology.
You might say she invented it.
My father goes back to his studio
to have some peace and quiet
and the dog follows.
'It was Anna Freud who hired the young Alex Bento
'as her housekeeper when she was 87.'
Sorry to bother you. You remember the time of Anna, yes?
How long did you know her for?
-How long did you know her for?
Well, a couple of years.
Just before she died, was it?
You have to cut where I say cut.
'I'm disappointed he doesn't want to talk about Anna Freud,
'because Alex is the only person I've met at the museum
'who has a living memory of the Freud family.'
And that gives him something in common with the few descendents of Sigmund Freud who visit the museum.
Like the daughter of his grandson Lucien,
the museum's trustee, Bella Freud.
Do you remember which relative it was?
I was really interested in my father,
much more than my great grandfather.
So, he occasionally talked about Sigmund, said he was quite funny,
which made me feel rather pleased about him and proud of him.
I realised he'd done something kind of amazing
but I didn't really know what it was.
Bella wants to try and find a family heirloom
she's heard about but never seen.
It's a painting her father Lucien did as a young man.
I thought he had said there was a painting?
No, I know what it is. It must be a sketch he did as a young boy
which he gave to Anna.
I thought it had been lost?
Well...Michael said something about...
He never told me.
When I was filming Alex showing me the coat the other day,
I'm sure they mentioned a painting.
Can we ask him right away?
I want to go and see it now.
It's a picture of a palm tree.
Yes, that's what Michael said.
Is that by Lucien Freud?
Yes, yeah, yeah.
God, how great, how exciting.
Alex takes Lisa and Bella off in search
of this priceless painting hidden away in the museum.
-Thank you so much.
Oh, it's lovely!
Oh, my God, it's amazing!
God, I wish I had that.
That's really lovely indeed.
What's the date?
I haven't got my glasses on.
-Palm Tree, 1944, when he was 19 or 20.
-That is really great. My God, how lovely.
Alex uses this opportunity to show Bella and Lisa
some of the other treasures hidden in the room.
The coat is down there.
-Show us the coat.
-Come on, let's see the coat. That would be great.
It is the Loden one!
-Is that his umbrella?
And the medical case.
Like a doctor's bag?
We should have all of them out.
Both Lisa and Bella are aghast that the priceless artefacts in this room
are not on display to the public.
The house was more or less a full house when I came.
There was no museum.
So that things are in different places.
Alex, Bella is Freud's great-granddaughter.
-I know that.
-We have met a few times, yes.
There is a lot of different stuff but all this stuff is there.
-It's great you know...
-The location of the stuff.
That really helps.
In Museums, it's the curators or directors who decide
what goes on display, not the caretakers,
but there is no denying Alex has a vast knowledge
of the house and its contents.
From here to there was Miss Freud's bathroom.
So there, what was what we used to call the blue bathroom,
it was Freud's bathroom.
'Lisa seems genuinely inspired by what Alex has shown her.'
We are the Caretakers, so we are not...
Did you tell Carol all this?
I told her a few things, we try to gradually tell her a few things.
No, tell her everything
because I think she will be really hungry to know.
Change at the museum has been slow to get going, but surely if
artefacts like the coat and medical bag were put on display,
it would be a step in the right direction?
But upstairs, I find Freud scholar Ivan Ward
quite dismissive of the idea.
Alex showed Bella and Lisa and they got...
-And they said, we must have it!
-Yes, they got quite excited about that.
And the doctor's bag.
The bag that's falling apart.
And the umbrella.
And the point is, if you're going to have people coming round
and having a look at what's in every corner,
and wanting everything out it's just ridiculous.
No museum works like that.
I suppose we could put a hologram of Freud's overcoat
and the umbrella and the boots,
-maybe we should go down that
You're just being cheeky!
I didn't realise it at the time but the meeting
with Lisa and Bella Freud has inspired Alex the caretaker.
It will be a preliminary "OK, this is the initial findings
"and we've done a bit of audience development work."
When Carol assembles everyone for an update on modernisation,
Alex decides to speak his mind.
Lisa came up and did not know about Freud's coat
and the palm tree and things like that. They were stuck in a box...
Alex has never expressed an opinion about the museum's future
while I am filming, but now he brings up something
from the museum's past.
The plans for the renovation of the house in 1983 after Anna Freud died.
He has a personal copy of the museum's constitution
which was given to him in the '80s.
In Freud's room, where the office is and where Marion is and Carol is,
to be part of Anna Freud's room - part, yeah?
To be there, the couch to be there, the paint cupboard...
As a room, you mean?
Yes, the loom and the cupboard there, quite a few things.
I have it down there somewhere.
Then a strange thing happens.
The meeting ends and Alex leaves.
Everything seems fine.
But then a couple of minutes later, he returns with a document.
You are not going to see it.
What d'you mean not going to see it?
-I didn't invent it.
-And nobody thinks you did invent it.
So it's the joint committee in London.
It is a vision, presentation...
'I get the feeling, years of frustration
'are coming to the surface.'
You are lucky I give it up.
You are so personal about it.
It is personal, yes, because for me, this in 1983...
It is from the joint committee of the museum.
The joint committee prepared it but this was given to me.
I'm not quite sure what...
We must have this somewhere, you can't have it...?
-No, this is mine, no-one has this in the house.
It says, "I enclose a copy of the report of the Freud Museum..."
Of course, you were given a copy
and everybody else who worked here should have been given a copy.
Everybody else but when it is something up in here,
nobody gives me a copy of anything, yeah.
Alex is upset because he feels the others are not listening to him.
And he was, after all, here at the very start of the museum.
With change happening all around, he feels increasingly sidelined.
That document, given from the head person in terms of the founder
of the museum to a caretaker,
I think it is quite an unusual thing, so the personal connection is there.
The fact he was given a document
that was part of the founding documents of the museum.
Towards the end of the summer,
the second of Marion's dating evenings is held.
THEY PLAY "WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS LOVE"
THEY START AGAIN
The over-40s seem to enjoy
the cheeky Freudian parlour games a great deal.
I can't see...latent period.
-Latent period - sexual drive lies dormant, miss a turn.
-Miss a turn!
One lady I met that evening has just swapped phone numbers
with a man who had to rush for his train.
I only do it when I've had a glass of wine.
At the end of the night, I think the guests had enjoyed themselves
but I wasn't sure if romance had blossomed.
Several weeks later, I return to Hampstead for the launch
of a marketing campaign Marion has organised
with some other small historic houses.
The party is addressed by TV historian Dan Cruikshank.
In a sense, London does tend to live in its small houses,
therefore an incredible place to visit
and very, very important.
An absolutely fantastic project
and I'm very happy to do anything I can to help.
'At the Freud museum, things are changing.'
Has it changed?
Yes, we've got a new carpet
loads of new equipment and a general kind of sprucing up of the museum.
Finally, the lengthy research period is over and the findings have
identified a new way of improving the visitors' experience.
It seems they don't want text panels,
or touch screens, so not high-tech and not great big chunky things
that make an intervention into the museum's space.
But they do want something to help them
and that something is going to be guided tours,
just person to person,
a very kind of low-tech, old-school interpretation.
I think guided tours are a good idea for the museum,
although I am disappointed Marion didn't mention Sigmund's overcoat.
But what I have learnt in my time at the museum,
is that Freud appeals to many different people
and this is its greatest asset as well as its biggest challenge.
Perhaps, most of all, it is simply a place where his memory
is well looked after.
This reminds me of a conversation I had with Michael
while we stood on the balcony one day in the summer.
-It takes quite a lot of upkeep the garden, doesn't it?
The "curator", as far as my very rusty Latin is concerned,
means to look after.
You are a custodian, you're looking after,
taking care of.
Interestingly enough, in a funny sort of way, the idea of the Latin,
when you look at the origin of the word, curator,
-it does actually mean similar to caretaker?
-It's a caretaker.
THEY TALK IN ITALIAN
Come on, Bobby, come on!
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
The Freud Museum in Hampstead, London is where the father of psychoanalysis lived his final year after escaping the Nazis in Austria. Sigmund Freud managed to smuggle out all his possessions, including the famous couch where his patients lay. This iconic piece of furniture is now a shrine to therapists and Freud fans from all over the world.
But despite its gravitas this small museum is struggling to stay relevant. In recent years Freud's thinking has fallen out of fashion and theories like Penis Envy and the Oedipus Complex have been discredited by many in the psychology world. Now the museum is appointing a new director with the mission to make Freud less elitist and more appealing to ordinary people.
One of the first things the museum does is to hold a dating evening. A number of games are created for the night, based on Freud's obsession with human sexuality. Another activity seizes on Freud's groundbreaking theory of dream interpretation, with scholar Ivan Ward getting partygoers together to discuss their dreams with one another. But the process of making change is slow because no one can agree. Everyone has an opinion on how best to serve Freud, including the caretaker Alex who has lived at the museum since its beginning.