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Re: DINO Commercialization

On Sat, 9 Aug 1997 07:29:33 +0000 dunn1@IDT.NET writes:
>> From:          ceratosaur@juno.com (William J. Bevil)
>> At the risk of being skewered by some of the more *volatile*
>> personalities on the list, I had some thoughts on several messages 
>> recently regarding the "commercialization" of dinosaurs
>> Despite the scientific inaccuracy of such movies as "KING KONG" and 
>> MILLION YEARS B.C.", I should point out that this particular 
>> enthusiast must admit that such films are directly responsible for 
>> adult interest interest in the subject. 
>Me too.  I also love the Jurassic Park movies.   I have *nothing* 
>against companies making money off of these ventures.  How would you 
>like it if kids were taught life sciences with these movies?  Museums 
>purport to educate people about certain aspects of the world, don't 
>they?  Why is this nuance escaping so many people?

Why is the nuance of a museum using this exhibit for bait to get folks
inside so they can get the straight poop escaping you?  Did it occur to
you that some folks who think that museums are stuffy and dull places
wouldn't come in _except_ to see a JP exhibit?  Then they get educated by
default and don't even know it.

>> >Judy Molnar wrote:
>> >I applaud your high standards, but life is full of compromises.  
>> with it.
>> Basically that sums it up.  
>Don't give up on people so easily and submit to this sort of sell-out 
>cynicism.  Believe it or not, people will go to see dinosaur displays 
>without the JP logo stamped all over them.

Of course they will, and have.  It isn't cynicism; it's realism.

>> I hate that more money doesn't go to help
>> Paleo and Natural History science efforts.  But, if latching on to 
>> social frenzy means that Museums can bring dinosaur exhibits to the
>> public, I must applaud it.  Not every facility is the gigantic AMNH,
>> either.   Just think of all the small local museums out there whose
>> attendance increased dramatically from this surge of interest?  
>This just leaves me full of questions. 
>You're saying that people whose interest is sparked by the dinosaurs 
>in Jurassic Park (which is great) can only go to museums and see 
>these $12.00 commercials? Local museums will die without this?  If 
>so, how did these museums survive before these movies? Why can't 
>people go to museums and see current dinosaur holdings and learn more 
>about dinosaurs as we believe they really were (hold the tiny frilled 
>spitting dilophosaur and the shiny new Mercedes on the museum floor)? 
>What is barring this?

Nothing is barring this except dull, drab exhibitry, with unimaginative
labels.  The high tech, interactive exhibits AMNH has put in its fossil
halls over the past few years is out of reach for most little facilities.

Museums compete with all sorts of entertainment for people's money.  TV
and movies have made many people into sound byte consumers that want all
their information quickly and want to have interaction and fun with an
exhibit.  Static exhibits just don't cut it much any more.  And high tech
costs mucho bucks.

As you say, you don't have to go to these exhibits or support them.  Just
understand what your non-support does to the institution.  AMNH probably
won't miss your $12, but I'll bet Po dunk Museum of Natural History, _if_
it could even _afford_ to stage the exhibit, would.

Judy Molnar
Education Associate, Virginia Living Museum
All questions are valid; all answers are tentative.