JHU Seminar: ​3/28/2017 NMNH and Michael Walsh Talk

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I love visiting the Natural History Museum, It always feels a little bit like going home. For two years I worked as a volunteer at the museum, and was excited to see it from another perspective.

That only sort of happened. Our Speaker, a paleontologist that works in the museum.

Was very excited very passionate about the subject. He was even very engaging. But the problem was he was a bit softer spoken and the museum was packed. So i missed the vast majority of his talk, because I simply could not hear him.  Because I knew the museum so well, I was ok stepping back to try and let others get Closer to the speaker.

That being said I was struck by one thing our speaker mentioned about exhibit development:

  

“When we develop an exhibit we start with simply asking:

What are the messages we want to convey?”

In the Ocean Hall the answer to that question was placed right at the front of the exhibit:


Everything in the exhibit supports these messages.

I thought it was a great way to think of exhibit development.

always asking, “Are we on message?”   

It seems self evident, but often these simple methodological queries can get overlooked and the exhibit can get away from us.

Later in the Day we had the pleasure of hearing a talk and watching a film by Art Historian Michael Walsh.

To be honest, my hopes were not too high for this lecture. I was not struck by the idea of looking at the work done in an Armenian church in Cypress.

I could not have been more wrong.

My First M.A. was in Medieval History, so I was immediately pulled in by the story of medieval

Famagusta and his work to protect a cultural heritage that no one else was protecting.

I was most excited about his work with VR, making the Church in VR and open to exploration in VR is incredibly exciting.

I loved the idea of the potential for “Interesting sourcing” Being able to pull up a source document digitally to the paragraph, or have a ancient eye witness account read out loud with a simple click.

This sort of sourced and documented engagement has the potential to revolutionize how we present historical stories, perhaps not just as a narrative, but within the context of an exportable sandbox (which is actually a video game idea)

On top of this my company is working on exploring VR ideas, so that was another reason this was so exciting.

I left the talk absolutely ecstatic and again, excited about the sheer potential and possibilities of this marriage of disciplines.

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