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RE: Museology



Multiple views:
1. Ecology. I.e. a full reconstruction of the plants, animals, bugs, etc. 
in which T. Rex, for example, lived. This would require several halls for
each
era. These exhibits are becoming more common, especially in reconstructions
of present-day environments.
2. Discipline of paleontology, e.g. taphonomy, field removal, preparation,
reconstruction. Again, some museums are doing this now.

Until the robots gets much better, I don't think it a good idea to emphasize
moving reconstructions, but I would bet that they'll be common by the
mid-21st century. I also bet that there will be really good computer 
reconstructions of motion, since the computer gaming industry will use them.
I would suggest a computational exhibit that could allow people to run
computer simulations of various theories of dinosaur lifestyles and decide
for themselves about homeothermia, predation, etc. The computer can
put in a background ecology, estimate internal body temperature, show
forces on body parts, etc.

I like the cladistic presentations, but the AMNH went overboard. They also
went overboard in the fight scene.

One big question is whether you want to play for the crowds or emphasize
science and teach. Real museums have to bring in the crowds to keep
the subsidies flowing.

This also gives me an opportunity to complain about the Yale Peabody Museum
Store.
I went up to see the feathered dinosaurs (a great exhibit!) and promised a
bunch
of my colleagues that I'd bring them back postcards. There were none! Not
only
that, but the book featured by the museum store was Chatterjee's! They
missed an opportunity to generate second and third order visits by
coordinating
the whole museum. They have banners in the streets, but nothing that will
draw people outside of New Haven who wouldn't ordinarily come. A lot
of my Chinese colleagues are extremely interested and I felt bad about
dissappointing
them. 

So, coordination will be important: the whole museum should be saying
something. If you look at the AMNH as a classic 19th century museum, it
makes
a statement. The statement appropriate to the 21st C should emphasize that
we all live on one world, that species and habitats are precious, and that
mankind
is destroying the world in which it evolved. A dinosaur hall is an excellent
place
to show the effects of environmental destruction.

G. Derkits
> ----------
> From:         Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.[SMTP:th81@umail.umd.edu]
> Sent:         Tuesday, March 09, 1999 8:33 AM
> To:   dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject:      Museology
> 
> As someone mentioned yesterday, time to move on to some new topics.
> 
> So:
> 
> What would the ideal early 21rst Century dinosaur hall look like at a
> given
> museum?
> 
> That is, what do you, the interested public, want to see in future
> dinosaur
> exhibits?
> 
> I'm looking here for all aspects: particular mounts (of taxa previously
> not
> mounted; of new and interesting positions...); means of organizing
> exhibits;
> type and topic of text; interactivity (if so, what kind); life
> reconstructions or not; etc.
> 
> Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
> Vertebrate Paleontologist     Webpage: http://www.geol.umd.edu
> Dept. of Geology              Email:tholtz@geol.umd.edu
> University of Maryland        Phone:301-405-4084
> College Park, MD  20742       Fax:  301-314-9661
>