Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Relevance, Please!

maria mortati, gyroscope inc, museums Recently, I had a chance to see the exhibit Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Some of the artifacts, both small and larger are amazing... and beautiful. The scale and scope of the exhibit is grand. In addition, they made a good use of docents-a-plenty and public programs- such as having activities like casting a mastodon's teeth in plaster of paris nearby. One of the things I especially enjoyed was the use of time context, or as we like to call it, relevance. Peppered throughout the exhibit were placards indicating where in time periods such as the pleistocene fell. They also had another, similarly scaled component where they informed you of where in Colorado you might have found these creatures. My only beef is that just as the sheer size of these reptiles are awesome, so is their place in time in relation to ours. Rather than having it be a side note, I believe that it would have greater impact on the visitor to bring forward any connection, such as time or place, into the primary exhibit area. Drawing connections from object to visitor creates a more lasting memory. When visitors are given the opportunity to make a link in relation to themselves (rather than an abstract idea), they have a way to forever locate it in their internal world Plus I think it could make for a cool interactive. I'm curious to hear about what others think about this. Do you feel it would "take away" from the awesomeness of the exhibit if more resources were spent to make room for this? Would you give up a dino skeleton for this?

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