Grandparents who have long shuffled their wee...


February 06, 1993

PARENTS AND grandparents who have long shuffled their wee ones off to the Cloisters may have mixed feelings about the decision to move the Children's Museum from a wooded hill in Brooklandville to The Brokerage site near the Inner Harbor.

They won't miss the same dreary exhibits and play equipment that never seem to change, year after year, except to grow shabbier and more boring to the kids.

They won't miss the cramped space and the constant feeling of just barely making do with contrived fun-making. The Cloisters requires visits spaced well apart to avoid the loss of that sense of adventure and magic that is the essence of childhood.

But old folks and young folks will miss the mock medieval castle built by Dudrea and Sumner Parker in an era when the rich could indulge such fancies.

They will miss the gargoyles and battlements, the winding stone staircase, the throne room, the musty library filled with musty books, the cloisters in the unkempt garden, the aura of mystery and quaintness about the place.

Just what is to become of the Cloisters is a befuddlement.

It belongs to the city, is located in the county on Falls Road and may yet be turned over to the state. But an adequate, state-of-the-art children's museum it can never be.

Any parent or grandparent who has taken a wee one to the children's museum in Boston knows just how far the Baltimore area has to go.

Up Massachusetts way, you find eye-popping facilities and an array of entertainments that will satisfy the most demanding youngsters -- in other words, a place of wonder comparable in quality with our Aquarium and the Science Museum.

So it's hooray for The Brokerage but a fond tear for the Cloisters.

Before your kids or grandkids lose their chance to play in a castle right out of a fairy tale, take them on a visit. Address: 10440 Falls Road.

The equipment may be shabby and the space cramped, but you can be sure The Brokerage will be unable to offer anything quite like the Cloisters.

* * *

IN THE credibility charts, how do you rate the IBM spokesman who said: "There's no such thing here as a golden parachute."

He was responding to questions about the recent forced exit of John Akers as chief executive officer of Big Blue.

Never fear, however. Mr. Akers will not hit the ground with a thump.

According to the Wall Street Journal, he will retire with a pension of $1.2 million a year plus some other benefits. If he steps down as chairman, he will be holding 391,356 options that are worthless today but could be worth plenty if the company bounces back in the 1997-2001 period.

Just call it a platinum parachute.

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