Simplicity is Key

After Monday’s lecture on technology within the museum, I saw this on a walk and it made me stop and think about the simplicity I seek within museum walls.  Everyday I walk (as I know everyone else in the class does too) past the light store- Filaments.  The store, located near Parson’s on 13th Street, is filled to capacity with light bulbs, stands, and shades. I know this is a stretch, but every time I walk past the store, I always think of the Hall of Biodiversity located in the American Museum of Natural History.  The Hall of Biodiversity is laid out in a similar manner, it is crowded, colorful, and completely attention-grabbing.  There is a very small presence of technology, making the visitor rely almost solely on the presentation of the plants and animals.

If I said I adored this area of the museum, it would be an understatement.  Every visit I am pleasantly overwhelmed by the information and models presented, and I always learn something new.  I really appreciate the simplicity of this Hall, and I find it refreshing that I find myself thinking of the museum when I see things as simple as a store front.

This is something museums must strive for-  a seamless transition between spaces.  Museum learning cannot stop once a visitor leaves the confines of the institution.  I applaud the Hall for it’s simplicity.  If it was only technological displays, instead of the appropriate combination that it does have, I doubt it would make as strong as impact on its viewers.

Ryan Massey

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One response to “Simplicity is Key

  1. I like how you used the term “pleasantly overwhelmed”. I think being overwhelmed is necessary in such an exhibit because there is SO MUCH biodiversity. It is really an exhibit wherein being overwhelmed is integral to a story or narrative. I am on the fence about a lot of technology in museums–I think, if anything, walking through a museum with some podcast playing, or some gadget just shows me that I don’t really need the museum. I can listen to a podcast anytime, anywhere. Call me old fashioned, but I happen to really like no-tech museums. With objects, please. Maybe this attitude reflects a generational backlash that I am beginning to sense.

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