Museums are not that cool

I visited the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago not too long ago. I am sad to say I was totally disappointed. The building is beautiful, the exhibits well put together, however it did nothing for me.

The only places that I feel are worth the potential ticket for entrance are art museums. Unless you are going to school at the moment and know nothing about certain topic, old fashion natural and science museums are probably the reason kids are more interested in what the latest celebrity is doing rather than how to learn about an almost extinct species.

Museums are not that cool. I think in the age of the internet, places should keep up with the time and make themselves a lot more interactive and like video games let you pick your experience level. I walked through and did not learn anything that was not a useless fact, sure it might have been a weird or surprising fact, but useless in the end.

I think some places are doing the science thing right. Even though geared towards kids, Earth Works here in KC was one of the coolest science places I have ever visited.

Also moving forward does not mean using technology to turn dead people into living displays…

I caught a lot of flying tomatoes due to my stance on the whole bodies revealed coming to Kansas City. I stood here and let people think and talk about how I was promoting ignorance. Even off the blogsphere I had people tell me that they had seen, loved and supported the exhibit. All I was trying to do was to give people more information (that kind of sounds like fighting ignorance to me) before they supported something so shady.

TH to Daniel for sending me this link… don’t call it vindication, call it proof that these people are just trying to make a buck from dead political prisoners.

10 comments on “Museums are not that cool

  1. I like the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. But, I think you have to go in knowing that a lot of the exhibits are geared towards school age kids. If you go during the week when buses of kids are there, you can see how excited they are about some of the exhibits.

  2. Just got done re-reading your issues with the dead bodies on display. /shrug

    I love museums but like chick flix I have to be in the mood for them. I love CHeeecagoes museums you speak of. Being a History buff by education I prefer to see it live vs. internet. It’s amazing to see the artifacts and in some cases touching them (eew). I went to the Natural Museum of History in D.C. a few weeks ago and IF I had the time I would have spent the whole day there.

    I think your visit to Chicago was marred. LOL

  3. Facts are only useless when you don’t put them to good enough use.

    I don’t consider anything I learn to by useless. I would also walk around a science and history museum 100 times before an art museum. Seriously, it’s the difference between learning something actual or trying to figure out why some jagoff decided to glue a bunch of buttons to a sheet of paperboard.

  4. hmmm. i love the MSI. and the Field Museum. and the Art Institute…

    did you at least collect some wax molds from the Mold a Rama machines? oh so fun! and cheesy! (googles it!)

    i am looking forward to taking J to the museums… and i got super excited to tell him about the mold a ramas! i am a geek.

  5. Oh, Logtar, we agree on so many things (I too disliked the idea of the Bodies Revealed exhibit and refuse to see it), but you’re killing me man!

    I’m the weekend manager at a local history museum 2 weekends a month and it slays me to hear you say museums aren’t that cool.

    Chimpo’s right, it’s all in how you use it. Science museums aren’t my thing (even though I previously worked for the Kansas City Museum and Science City about 8 yrs ago).

    Science is a hands on thing, but to say all museums, save art museums are useless is just ridiculous.

    You can’t tell me it’s not worth $Free to $10 to go thru a museum, even if you only learn useless facts. History, like science should be experienced in 3D.

    Tip: NEVER EVER go to a museum without taking the guided tour. Listen to the stories/explanations that go along with what you are seeing. Ask questions, learn deeper than what a sign next to the object can tell you. Go to a museum to listen and see, not read.

    Here’s some great examples of places to go:
    Thomas Hart Benton Museum (especially if you like art)
    Steamboat Arabia (this one’s ok, it’s partly guided, partly explore on your own)
    John Wornall House Museum (hands down best guided tour if you want to learn about Civil War and Kansas City)
    Strawberry Hill Museum (not a professional museum, but it’s an awesome story and great original artifacts.)
    Harris Kearney House (GREAT early KC/Westport history!)

    Anyway, I hope you’ll reconsider your feelings about ALL museums.

  6. If any of you are familuar with Second life 3D chat, You probly already know that there are 3D replications of these same art & science museums. Want to visit the Louvre museum? But just cant afford tickets to Paris? Then your in luck, Second life has the whole building replicated, as well as the Air & Space Museum in NYC, The Smithsonian, and many more.

    Secondlife is free to download:

    Youtube of the Louvre in Second life:

  7. Thanks for visiting Moxie :) love the comments.

    You are all right, and I went into this post with the mind that most people were going to go against me… and that is what I wanted.

    I think Museums are cool when they are run correctly, but I was disappointed by what a prestigious museum had to offer… it was expensive 20+ dollars if you wanted to see a “special exhibit.”

    I agree with you on guided tours, but I still think that facts without a story behind them are useless because they are quickly forgotten.

    I love both History and Science… so it just bothers me when I go to a museum and walk out without more knowledge than when I walked in.

  8. Logtar, you ignorant slut. There’s nothing like getting to see the real thing in person. Art museums are great places to take kids that like to draw or paint or play with clay. Or at least to see if it strikes their fancy. History museums are great ways to reinforce the lessons that the droning old hag of a teacher couldn’t pound into your head, providing a personal sense experience to associate with the dates and names, or at least the place and period of history. Guided tours these days are as easy as picking up a set of headphones at the front door in many places, though a personal tour in a small group by a knowledgeable staffer can be an excellent experience, especially in a museum far from home.

    As for “useful facts,” that’s what trade workshops are for.

  9. Your comments were well reasoned and had a lot of integrity. Even better I don’t think that you gloated at all when you could have. I feel the same way that you do about relatives and people I respect raving over the exhibit. In real life I have to bite my tongue.

    Great posts by the way, there are at least half a dozen stellar posts on this page. Keep up the awesome work!!!

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