Science Museums

I’m back from vacation following the GCC summit.

Since I was on vacation, I wonder: why are science and technology museums so often aimed at children, and art museums so often not? It’s as though science is naturally presented as educational, whereas art is something you simply appreciate.

To me it would seem more natural to do it the other way around. Art museums should show you information about the artist, the milieu, the technology used, how it developed. Science museums should show you the results, and should drop the interactive exhibits and the kid stuff. No doubt I feel this way because I know more about science than about art. Presumably museum curators tend to be the other way around.

There are certainly excellent science museums aimed at adults, like the New York Natural History Museum. A surprisingly good museum is the Transportation Museum in Owls Head, Maine. I’m sure there are many others, but somehow most of the ones I’ve been to are disappointing.

2 Comments »

  1. Mathieu Arnold said,

    July 1, 2008 @ 12:43 am

    While it’s true that art museums are as you say, there are most of the time tours with guides who know more about art than you could imagine. (Well, in the Louvre or other museums in Paris, only the best students in art history can get those unworthy, underpaid jobs.) And they can explain you all the things you could want to know.

  2. Ian Lance Taylor said,

    July 1, 2008 @ 5:52 am

    Yes, that is a good point. Really I’m complaining more about science museums than about art museums.

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