JHU Seminar: 3/24/2017 NMAH and The National Gallery of Art


On Friday we visited the Smithsonian Museum of American History, It is no surprise that this museum has a deep meaning for me, because I currently work there.  It sort of felt like, even though I am a student in the class, I was also a host in this space.  In the Afternoon we visited the National Gallery of Art, a museum which I had not visited in years, and it was a privilege to speak with the Project renovation Architect and museum curator.

After the museum, I reflected on something that had struck me in many of the museums we visited: Exposing the “guts” or behind the scenes of the operation .

In the last few years I have started to gain an interest in the mechanics of how things work. For a while I thought it was just me, but this actually appears to be a much more wide spread trend.

It’s the reason why shows like “How it’s made” have become popular.  It’s the reason why many new computer cases are clear, showing the guts of the machine. It’s the reason for the rise in popularity of “Skeleton Watches” Which actually show the gears moving inside the time piece.

It appears that museums have found their to be a public interest in showing the same.

In fact I have spoken with my own bosses about the fact that the mechanics of our simulators are themselves beautiful machines and it might be worth exposing the mechanics.

When we visited The Zoo, The Panda monitoring room was in plain view of the staff.


The Entire LUNDER Center is open for view and the conservation process is on view for all to see.

Even At the National Gallery, the New Rooftop area give a view that previously was only available to staff and building facilities, which our guide explained was completely intentional.


There is an interest in seeing “Behind the Curtain.” and all these museums are doing just that in their own ways!


Leave a Reply