Friday, February 26, 2010


I recently went to my favorite museum, the Museum of Natural History. I've been there many times before, but it is such a huge place, with new exhibits presented year-round. When visiting, I'm usually able to find new sections I have yet to explore, with plenty of tidbits of knowledge to learn about.

There was a hallway decorated with photographs of different types of birds in the section, "On Feathered Wings: Birds in Flight." The photos were so sharp and it was almost as if the birds were right there with me! I especially liked one shot of a snowy owl with her wings outstretched while flying towards the camera. I could see right into her eyes, and it seemed as though I could tell she had a sweet disposition. Maybe this was not only a snapshot of the owl flying, but also a brief reflection of her spirit. All of the birds in the exhibit seemed to show personality, and I gravitated toward studying each photo in order to try and get a glimpse of the subject's identity behind the lens of the camera.

I also enjoyed checking out the Africa and Asia sections. I think I had walked through this hall before, but this time the displays of instruments really resonated with me. It was amazing to see how the drums, bongos, and guitar like instruments were so consistent with what we have today. I liked discovering how the placement of the cords, the hollowed out centers, and the tuning pegs of the guitars were all so similar to what they are today. It certainly shows that even early on in human culture, we had an innate desire to express ourselves and be creative.

It was almost as interesting observing the other people walking through the museum. There was mainly a mix of families and tourists, and I noticed the interaction between them. Sometimes, there was one member of the family who played the role of tour guide. They would do their best to explain and interpret the displays and clearly enjoyed sharing their knowledge. On the other hand, some people walked together, but were silent while taking in the exhibits. There were also a couple of examples where kids would run around and investigate things on their own and cause some mischief. Then their parents would demand that they stop. I can understand a parent's desire to positively influence their children. But it made me think about what the children might believe when they continually hear "no" or "stop it" without any discussion. It doesn't give them the freedom to discover and explore things on their own. This may not only influence their behavior inside the museum, but also their development and maturation in the future.

It was fun to visit the museum and learn more about nature and culture through the exhibitions. But it was also intriguing to observe a small cross section of the other people there, which inadvertently provided a special exhibit all on its own.

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