Last Thursday, a couple of us interns were given the opportunity to go to the Museum of Jurassic Technology. Since all of us had heard so much about the MJT from our discussions with Lise, we were extremely excited to finally go and explore! Even though I had been forewarned that the MJT would be different than any other museum I had been to, nothing could have prepped me for the dark, mysterious walls that greeted us as soon as we passed the front desk.
As I went from one room to the next, it wasn’t difficult to notice the lack of flow that connected – or did not connect – the different exhibits in the museum. The exhibit that stood out the most to me was on folk remedies and myths. This exhibit contained some of the most ridiculous instructions to solve everyday problems. For example, it provided instructions on how to prevent a groom from consummating his marriage; all one had to do was snap a pair of scissors behind the groom on his wedding day!
Pride: An example of the "Remedies Exhibit"
I found this exhibit fascinating because I think it captures the essence of the Museum of Jurassic Technology: I was never sure which superstitions were real and which were made-up. I kept wondering, “Did people really believe in this stuff, or was it made up by the MJT?” This crossing of the real and the fictive characterizes the MJT, and I think this is where the ICI and the MJT have its similarities. As I perceive the ICI to be a kind of a laboratory that values the interactions between a person and an object more than the object itself, I can see why people linked the ICI with the MJT in the earlier days of the Institute. The MJT’s exhibitions hint at the interactions between the fictive and the real, suggesting that a performer behind the scenes was mischievously responsible for the mystery underlining each display.