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Re: Museology II



Tom Holtz wrote:
>Any additional thoughts on themes, particular taxa to be shown, displays,
>technology, etc?

We want displays to work for many levels, for kids as well as for
well-educated dinophiles. Why not take advantage of remote cameras to
illustrate specimens at other museums? Set up cameras around the star
specimens of various museums in a network, and let visitors to other
museums view them via the Internet and a large color display screen.
Ideally, this could be set up so a visitor to the American Museum of
Natural History who wanted to see more sauropods could wander off to the
side and tune in to, say, a titanosaur mount in Argentina. Conversely, a
visitor to the Argentine museum could tune into the brachiosaur or
apatosaur mounts at AMNH. Apply a degree of organization to this, and you
could set the displays up to "see related dinosaurs in South America during
the Jurassic", then change the locations and the periods so visitors could
compare.

The idea is to make all museums richer for the sharing. The technologyo
isn't going to be cheap, but prices are coming down, so it shouldn't be
hideously expensive. Cash might flow from the big urban museums with large
numbers of paying customers to smaller remote musuems with spectacular
specimens. It need not be much, because the displays would also promote the
remote museums, and encourage people to visit them. Two-way links would let
kids from Montana or Argentina explore the AMNH as well.

Virtual museums can never match the sheer awe of realizing that a bone
before you was part of a T. rex 65 million years ago, but they can combine
that thrill for some specimens with the ability to show far more displays
than can fit in any one museum.


Jeff Hecht     Boston Correspondent    New Scientist magazine
525 Auburn St.,          Auburndale, MA 02466             USA
tel 617-965-3834 fax 617-332-4760 e-mail jhecht@world.std.com
URL: http://www.sff.net/people/Jeff.Hecht/
see New Scientist on the Web: http://www.newscientist.com/