The Jury Talks Back


What is Happening to Our Museums?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amphipolis @ 9:17 am

My family loves museums. When we lived in Philadelphia, we always had memberships in one or two of them. Our children knew how to behave in museums because they were in them almost from birth. They loved to learn and see new things.

We were back to visit the Franklin Institute in October. It had apparently been taken over by Pirates of the Caribbean paraphernalia. It seemed as though 2/3 of the great old exhibits were gone. There was an interesting and informative new Pirate section (for an additional fee), but that is not why we wanted to go to the museum. Now they are all Narnia. I love Narnia, but did it have to displace most of the museum? Where is the Mathematics Hall with all of its cool stuff?

Then we were going to go visit the University Museum at Penn a few weeks ago (the only place in the city where you can see a sphinx), but it seemed as though the entire museum was taken over by Harry Potter stuff. Nothing against Harry, but we wanted to show our children the exhibits we love. We stayed home.

And today I stumbled upon this. Expertise, the one thing I thought they had, is being sacrificed for attendance. They want it to be more like a business, which to me means that they are trying to compete with popular culture. But we go there to escape popular culture!

I understand that they want, and need, to draw more people in, but must they mimic best sellers to become relevant to this generation? Is this a cop-out? Does anyone have the patience to learn any more?

1 Comment

  1. We visited the Franklin Institute last month. We didn’t do the Pirates exhibit; I had heard from a friend that it wasn’t very good and was way too commercialized. Maybe the Institute is “dumbing down” for what they perceive to be the general public’s level or attention span.

    We enjoyed the “how things work” exhibit. It was all about gears, engines, pulleys, etc., and had alot of “hands on” opportunities for my 49-going-on-5 significant other. The IMax theatre was good, too (Grand Canyon). The entire day, including transportation and lunch, cost us $80, which isn’t bad.

    Comment by Shirley — 12/4/2008 @ 9:49 am

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