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re: museology

I know this is pretty shameless, but I can't help myself. Those of you who
have a museum "home" will relate. :) 

I know many of you visited our remade dino hall at the Academy of Natural
Sciences, Philadelphia during Dinofest. Oddly enough, our hall seems to
include many of the items you guys would like to see in a museum. We have a
mock dig for the kiddies, casts to touch, buttons on every mount that are
hooked up to a speaker that say the dinosaur's name and an honest to
goodness paleo lab. We also have a "blue screen" room that projects you into
a movie with dinosaurs.
We have a "walk though time" Bob Walters mural accented with fossils and
ambient sound effects.

I do think the paleo lab is one of our best features. Unlike other labs I've
seen, we're staffed all the time, every day. You can walk up and chat with
us face to face anytime, with no microphones or scheduled performances. Just
real preparators doing real work. We are developing some real talents, too,
and I'm sure you'll be seeing good things from us in the near future.

I know we don't have as much money, space or the popularity of AMNH, but I
*do* like our hall better. I don't like the blinding white marble, the
coldness and the robotic-like tours at AMNH. I love the dizzying array of
fossils, don't get me wrong! I'm very jealous, and it is a great museum. (I
want an Ankylosaur! *pout*) The atmosphere at ANSP invites you to stay,
relax, think and ask questions to a huge staff of volunteers (we don't give
"tours"). Kids don't stuff themselves in front of a damned kiosk- they
interact with *us*. ANSP is like the friendly local shop compared to
Wal-mart. We may not have the selection, but he have the service.
If you have visited us, I'd be interested to hear your comments on our hall,
good and bad. 

(Now, if only we could get a bit more light in the hall...)

-Sherry Michael

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