Information display at the museum

Mountain GorillaWhile in NY I was nearly attacked by an enraged mountain gorilla, oh wait, no…while in NY I visited the American Museum of Natural History, where I spent many wonderful hours viewing all kinds of exhibits that brought me back to my childhood. I can't get enough of those habitat displays filled with stuffed animals arranged in action-like stances, posed against richly-painted backdrops of their native landscape.

Something that I observed at the time but failed to capture with my camera was the way information is displayed next to the exibits, and how it's changed over time. At the older exibits, like the habitats I mentioned above, a simple paragraph of text beneath or to the side of the window explained the contents. "The Mountain Gorilla blah blah blah…" Very clean and straight-foward, almost what you'd expect from a text book. But upstairs on the fourth floor, home of the dinosaurs and primative mammels, it was very different, for that floor had recently been renovated—the information displays had a very modern, multimedia feel to them. There were underlines and arrows directing one's eye to various bits of text, and certain words were written in a larger font, often emphasized with bold or italic.

Gone were the simple paragraphs in favor of "hipper" layouts that forced the eye to track across a wide plexiglass-type sheet to take in all the information. (Why oh why didn't I take a picture of this?) More colors were used, more fonts, more visual aids, and yet, I found it much hard to read than the simple text presented on the first floor. While it certainly looked cooler, I'm not sure it did the job of presenting information any better. In fact, it might have been worse. But the dinosaurs were very cool.

On a totally different, and far more ridiculous note: Free Winona t-shirts for sale. But why does she look like Jackie O? Or the woman on an English Beat t-shirt? The answer to some of life's mysteries can never be known.