[Tweeters] mounted bird collections

Devorah Bennu birdologist at yahoo.com
Tue Dec 13 15:02:23 PST 2005

Not all museums are like this. AMNH in NYC has lots of
fabulous naturalistic exhibits, and they manage to
include some really cool interactive exhibits that
kids relate to, as well. the reason that most museums
lack this sort of thing is due primarily to money;
these exhibits are expensive in both materials as well
as technical support. further, this sort of thing
requires the museum hire imaginative people who have
excellent scientific backgrounds as well as tremendous
skill at being able to "read" where the public will be
in 12-24 months in advance.

as an example, AMNH now has a Darwin exhibit that just
opened. this exhibit is beautifully crafted and oh so
timely, and is thus very well-attended. this exhibit
was three (?) years in the making. it even has an
accompanying book that discusses how Darwin came to
his theory of evolution, his thought processes and
self-doubts, and why he waited so danged long to
publish his book, On the Origin of Species. this
exhibit will travel to several other museums
throughout the USA and will end up at NMNH in london
on the 150th anniversary of Darwin's birth. i
personally have spent many hours in this exhibit and
will spend more hours there before i write up a review
of it (for my blog, of course).

there is another exhibit at AMNH that also is a
fabulous example of using real dinosaur fossils
alongside modern technology (computer animations,
moving dinosaur robots, etc). to excite people (kids,
too) about evolution and evolutionary concepts. these
exhibits show how easy it can be to use a variety of
exhibits to illustrate a point.

incidentally, if you are visiting NYC anytime in the
next month or so, i HIGHLY recommend seeing both these
exhibits. the Darwin exhibit will be here for six
months, the dinosaur exhibit will be leaving sometime
in january 2006. these two exhibits will easily be an
all-day event.


--- Dennis Paulson <dennispaulson at comcast.net> wrote:

> Phil Hotten wrote:


> As a social isolate, I might just as well be living

> on the moon. But,

> it seems to me that Whatcom County should be

> endeavoring to expand

> its natural history exhibiits, instead of getting

> rid of that

> irreplaceable mounted bird collection. This county

> is becoming paved

> over, and the younger generations should be aware of

> what they are

> losing and what they have lost, natural

> history-wise. The great

> natural history museums of western europe are

> constantly visited by

> school children, including displays showing how the

> USA, Mexico, et

> al. have squandered their natural world.

> ------

> Phil, you're absolutely right. I consider it a

> tragedy that so many

> museums are abandoning exhibits and collections such

> as these to make

> way for exhibits to go along with our modern

> fast-paced world (in

> other words, those that kids can relate to, more

> like video games).

> When I worked at the Burke Museum in the early 70s,

> they had a fine

> exhibit of mounted local birds, and the

> administrative staff (which

> were all cultural rather than natural historians)

> took down the

> exhibit to make way for remodeling and then

> conveniently never put it

> back up. It was apparently one of the more popular

> exhibits at the

> time, but one wonders if museum personnel pay as

> much attention to

> that as they do to the latest trends in exhibitry.

> Don't get me

> wrong, I'm entirely pro-museum, but I've seen these

> changes and

> regret the trend toward fancier and fancier exhibits

> with fewer

> actual specimens.


> We're losing not only nature but the ability to

> relate to it, the

> latter just because almost all of us live away from

> it. Those mounted

> birds are real, more real in a way than a TV program

> about bird

> behavior, and yet it's getting harder and harder for

> any of us to

> have access to such educational resources.


> Dennis Paulson

> 1724 NE 98 St.

> Seattle, WA 98115

> 206-528-1382


> > _______________________________________________

> Tweeters mailing list

> Tweeters at u.washington.edu




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