I’ve Seen Weirder Combinations…

Last night’s episode of Parks and Recreation had a mini museum scene that definitely felt familiar. Substitute Harrison Bucks for T-Rex Tokens, and you’ve basically summarized my second semester of grad school. (While at the William Henry Harrison Museum) April: I just wanted to say that I really like your museum. It’s weird and sad and unnecessary.…

Cracking Character – The Fun of Being Historical-ish

What happens when living history interpreters allow the lines between the past and present to blur a little? When they don’t break character, but they definitely crack it? I’m always a bit skeptical of living history and (re)enactment experiences. I don’t dislike them by default, but growing up between the Revolutionary War reenactment-happy towns of Lexington…

When Dioramas Explode – “Animal World” at The National Museum of Scotland

It’s no secret that I don’t like traditional dioramas. But apparently I do like it when it looks like traditional dioramas have exploded and scattered animals throughout the exhibit. I like it a lot. Last week I visited the National Museum of Scotland. And it was a lovely, if somewhat predictable, experience until I got…

Retro References in Museums

A few weeks ago, my students and I were talking about what pieces of current pop culture we thought would have sticking power. What references, songs, movies, and taglines from today will people still be using thirty years from now? Will our future be full of YOLOs, hashtags, twerking, and fetch? Just kidding. Fetch is never going…

Un-Prompted Visitor-Contributed Content: An Example

While working on a new evaluation project with the Freiburg Museum Natur und Mensch, I’ve come across an interesting example of  how un-prompted visitor-contributed content can work. In the temporary exhibit “Letzte Ölung Nigerdelta,” one room invites visitors to sit and watch a projected series of photographs exploring the social, economical, and environmental affects of the oil industry…