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?
I would love to be able to come back and write a post about how we are developing, or have picked up a show based on a [url=http://chiki-puki.com/M180MzEyMTMy]comment[/url] posted to the blog.
How embarrassing – typos! I should have waited to answer this email when I wasn’t rushing! Sorry readers of RepMan!
I suspect that there is more to this exhibition than encouraging fiction. It actually could be quite interesting for adults as well as children to learn what these mythical animals are based on in reality. For example, in China lions did not exist, but ancient sculptors and dignitaries heard enough about them to wish they had a few. The next step was to make their own version of a lion and thus came the legendary Foo lions (also known as Foo dogs). These “animals” were often found in pairs and meant as protectors. They are usually placed on either side of an entrance to a building.
Museums have a tough time of raising funds. Even in New York City where there is a large museum going public. Yes, some museums are very wealthy (the Met) but I don’t know if the American Museum of Natual History is one of them. Also think about what they are competing with for the attention of a child! Say the word “musuem” to a child and you may just hear a big snore. Sometimes their imagination has to be captured. You, as a PR person, understand that sometimes it is all in the “approach,” right? I actually applaud their creativity in reaching out to the kids.
Now, I have written this without seeing the exhibition so my next step will be to walk over and go see it. If my opinion changes then I will eat a little crow and and let you know.
Methinks that once the kids are led into the AMNH, they will get past the “carrot” Lord of the Rings stuff, and actually learn by seeing the “real” exhibits.
Screw that stuff anyway! Let’s roast Mattel for selling our kids unsafe toys (CEO is on CNBC to talk about it today) or those responsible for bridges that collapse! Those reputations are really in the hot seat now…