As someone who thought she might be interested in museum work, our recent trip to the Museum of Jurassic Technology has given me a lot to think about in terms of what the purpose of a museum is. I almost never stop to watch the video or listen to the audio that is sometimes included in museum exhibits. But this time I decided to sit down and watch the entire 3D presentation that was part of the Athanasius Kircher exhibit. With so much aural and visual stimulation, the experience was hypnotic. These separate but overlapping elements are reminiscent of filmstrips like the ones I work with at the ICI. These elements are meant to compliment each other and to enhance the learning process. Occasionally, however, some details may seem out of place. What you see and what you hear or read sometimes do not match, and you might begin to question what exactly is going on and what the purpose is. On the other hand, if you accept that an authority is presenting this information truthfully, you might just assume that there is something that you simply do not understand about the subject. With all of this in mind, it becomes clear that certain ideas are literally contained within boxes or filmstrip frames, leading to a very specific structuring of the world. I am not yet sure to what extent this applies to the museum exhibit, but the MJT certainly brings this concern to light.
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