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Re: "Inside the Hidden Kingdom" - the Royal Ontario Museum

At 11:57 AM 1/20/2003, Danvarner@aol.com wrote:
       I've noticed that cohabitation of fine arts and natural history in a
museum can be a dicey thing. One or the other seems to lose.  DV

I really wish they would just give up and head the direction that most major cities have, with separate Natural History and Civilization museums. The ROM has phenomenal articles in their collections that nobody ever gets to see, unless they are researching that topic. I don't even mean just dinosaurs (although there are a wack of them in the collections that have never seen the light of display).

The reason people don't go back to the ROM is that it is so static. "Very little changes [people think], so why would I go back".

and then:

Stephan Pickering wrote-
It is the task of the curators to ensure the "interactive" displays link the mind and the imagination. Alas, ROM has failed miserably. Even Dinosaur National Monument could have captured some of the energy: with paleontologists doing actual excavations from the matrix, visitors
could have seen emerging animals.

To which Nick Gardner replied:
>When did it become their task to have to create displays like that >because the kiddos have no imagination to see a charging tyrannosaur >without actually having to see it? Besides, HP Pickering, how would >you enjoy it if you had half-a-dozen people watching you work on >something serious like that? When it's lowered to such a level, it sort of >degrades it to a circus... just my opinion, mind you.

Sadly, I have to agree with both. I have taken classes to the ROM recently and it infuriates me when the children (10 and 11) stand in front of the artifact/dinosaur/painting and watch the TV that is there describing it!!!! They don't even look at the item itself!!!! They are used to being entertained, have no imagination (sweeping generalization, I know, but I am making a point), and don't want to think about what they are seeing. Unless you care to begin with, most museums are just a bunch of mouldy dead things. We have to teach an appreciation. To do that, we need to get kids to care. Sadly, this often means a deal with the devil by letting in some more interactive, moving, cool robotics (gack). One on one, I was generally able to impress the significance on them, but I know what I am looking at. Seeing it with their parents (who often thought it was boring) left little wonder in them.

Darryl Jones <dinoguy@sympatico.ca>

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