The Hall of Biodiversity is an interesting example of a modern exhibition remixing the old Victorian-era encyclopedic spectacle. AMNH’s first thematic gallery is not about any particular scientific discipline (ie the ‘-ologies’ ) but is dedicated to the theme of “world crisis of biodiversity”. The gallery’s outward appearance is certainly derived from a classic Victorian model as described in Carla Yanni’s Nature’s Museums: The Architecture of Display – or perhaps the earlier model of the WunderKammer. A combination of a visual spectacle that grabs your attention at an emotional level and a modern message-driven exhibition, the gallery also has a richness of content embedded in media stations with video interviews with real working scientists, touchable models, an open-air diorama and a resource center that links you to conservation projects around the world. As I think about the future of the museum I must say that I find this remixing of earlier iconic exhibition models quite compelling and uniquely powerful.
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