Museums: One Way To Engage With Science
Museums are places where children and adults are equally tied up with information without them feeling they are shackled.
The challenge thus falls on the communicator to plan well to write, design, produce, and showcase their geeky information. The writing for museums thus, in my opinion, should engage with an audience across different ages.
On 28 December 2015, I went into the geology domain of the British Natural History Museum in South Kensington, London. After nearly a half-an-hour wait in the queue, my wife and I were carried along by all the captivating installations about the earth and its different elements. Many sections made us stand and take a look at the way the information was communicated.
More than learning anything new, I was learning the old things I learned in school, but only in a different way. This is how learning should be, right? If you’ve learned something earlier in a confusing way, you should be ready to easily erase and replace it with a fresh learning that gives you much more clarity. That’s what happened to me— a refreshed learning about how rocks and stones get their shape, and what natural factors play their roles (and importantly, how) in shaping rocks and stones!
Have a look at this 1:45 min video I shot about it (with my smartphone — for the record — Microsoft Lumia 535):
A lot of work must have gone into making this installation. Someone can make a documentary about just this installation — on the back story, and behind-the-scenes of who thought about choosing these examples, why these examples, and how did they think that this will make children to adults, and a science-curious person to a scientist, to stop and take a look.
When I was standing there, I thought more about how would I have written about this topic clearly. It’s challenging to write in words about what they’ve shown as an installation like this! This is what is all about science communication — invoking curiosity. And curiosity does not always kill the cat, but only saves your skin among scienceophiles and geeks!
Next time when I go to the Natural History Museum, I promised myself, I would go and find the people who were instrumental in building this installation. More about other forms of science communication, particularly journalism, later!