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Re: Museology

In a message dated 3/9/99 2:26:44 PM Eastern Standard Time, Danvarner@AOL.COM

<<  Another heresy: I
 don't CARE where kids go in a museum. If you have to provide them with all
 that "hands on" crap why don't you just give them a grape or piece of banana
 when they stay quiet for about a minute or so staring at some boring old
 that could really tell them something? I spent a lot of my youth really
 enjoying myself in museums without having to bang away at something. 
   Animals and their environment would be great, but in paleo that's not
 so clear-cut. Note the discussion on seaway environment during the last few
 days. Dan "That Hateful Old Man"Varner.>>

Hear! Hear! I agree with Dan that the AMNH exhibit style is the way to
go---especially for sheer variety and quantity of fossils on display with
enough quality real fossils to warrant oohs and ahs. Man, the bane of my
existence are those day camps that bus or subway in hundreds upon hundreds of
screaming, grasping, omnipresent 5-12 year olds whose one purpose for the day
seems to be to crawl on and grab everything within a 20 foot radius and make
my day a living heck. Anyway, I can see a Tyrannosaurus or Triceratops in any
museum anywhere (including Florida, where dinosaurs never lived), but I would
love to see fossils (the real ones would be preferable but since this is
obviously impossible casts would not be at all bad) of things like
therizinosaurs, prosauropods, extensive displays of basal archosaurs, and
other of the things you don't see that often (for all the myriad museum
exhibits I've been to I've seen maybe two Plateosaurus, a Prestosuchus, a
Desmatosuchus, and a few phytosaurs). Of course, while I'm dreaming here and
getting progressively off of dinosaurs I'd ask for a huge basal synapsid
exhibit, with fossils like they have in Russia and South Africa backed by one
of the ultrarare but spectacular US museum exhibit funding splurge. Really
though, one thing I like about the AMNH exhibits is that though they sure as
heck have some spectacular stuff, not everything (indeed, a huge number of
fossils) is a complete or even nearly complete skeleton, and this fills the
holes in the display, since even a skull piece can stand testament to millions
of years and a vast group of animals. Its nice to see complete skeletons but
too often fascinating creatures like therizinosaurs and chroniosuchians are
maligned in exhibits because no one wants to make a cast of a fragment, even
if people are not only interested in seeing this fragment but also if this
fragment adds completeness to the exhibits. So, my vote goes for fossils and
lots of them as opposed to extensive habitat recreation with models. As for
positions, I want to see a Tryannosaurus fighting a Utahraptor with a bunch of
Velociraptors attacking both!! 

Christian "The usually quite affable but very hateful when it comes to people
ruining his museum experiences teenager" Kammerer