As I padded along on the Boom Gym treadmill yesterday, I happened to spy an American Museum of Natural History bus shelter poster that read: ‘Mythical
creatures: come see dragons, unicorns and other mysteries. Now through January 6th.’
So, I thought: why would a museum of ‘natural’ history host an exhibit of ersatz fantasy creatures from the pages of fiction? Why would the home of T-Rex, the blue whale and other natural history wonders suddenly play up the ‘dark side’? And then it came to me: Sales, baby, sales.
It’s more than a little sad to see a great museum stoop to ‘Barnumesque’ attractions to make a few, extra dollars. And, in this case, I think the potential long-term image and reputation fallout will outweigh any short-term increase in Benjamins.
The museum has always been a staple on every tri-state grade school’s class trip experience. But, I wonder how many serious teachers will truck their kids all the way into the Big Apple just to have the kids see an exhibit that has less to do with learning and more to do with Lord of the Rings?