Call me a nerd, but I love museums. They so often have a reputation as stuffy, boring buildings full of old vases or junk or artwork that nobody gets. But in the 21st century that couldn’t be further from the truth. In this day and age of specificity, most museums have a theme or topic driving their exhibitions choices, and the current trend (yes, museum exhibits have trends) is to pick one very detailed subject, like dirt, and do an entire exhibit all about the chemistry of it, the smells, perhaps some different dirts from around the world, and all the different aspects of dirt. Museums have also started pouring more money into the actual presentation and design of their exhibits so that museum-goers get the most information and most enjoyment out of their experience. Museums are also broaching subjects that were considered taboo or too risque for most audiences. Now, they’re sending replicas of dissected humans around the world, with wild success.
The only negative, for me anyway, is that the idea of hands-on exhibits are still often geared towards children, when in fact grown-ups enjoy and benefit from picking up and messing with stuff as much as kids. They are including more multi-media and more interactive elements to exhibits, these days, too, and they’ve now perfected the art and technology so that the interactive pieces don’t fall apart after the first 50 visitors.
So, after all this hyping of museums, are you perhaps interested in visiting one? You’re in luck! Museum Day 2008, sponsored in part by the Smithsonian Institute, is happening this year on September 27th, two weeks from tomorrow. They are offering free admission to all participating museums all over the United States. You can go to the website and download a free pass to any participating museum. They also include a list of participating museums so you can find the ones in your area.
I want to give people lots of notice, since it seems like people have their lives scheduled out to 2010 these days. Be sure to check it out; this might be an opportunity for you to check out that one museum in town you’d always been somewhat interested in but never thought it was worth the $8 or so to get in.