J.P. Chan 

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The Best View

The Best View

My life would have been very different had I grown up closer to the Hayden Planetarium. I was obsessed with space and astronomy as a kid but only got to visit the Planetarium’s predecessor a handful of times growing up. Then and now, this is a magical place.

(Hayden Planetarium, American Museum of Natural History)

 

My Naturally Continuing Education

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In the past year, I’ve become increasingly worried about my lack of basic knowledge in science and the natural world. I’m embarrassed that as a supposedly-educated adult I still can’t explain fundamental concepts like how electricity flows through the cameras I use everyday nor can I name any of the trees I can see from my window.

I don’t want to leave this planet being so ignorant about how it actually works.

Perhaps not coincidentally, I rarely get to the exhibits at my favorite museum even though I live just a few subway stops away.

Hopefully, all of this changes starting today. I’m a now a museum member again for the first time in years and I plan to make the most of it. My goal is to (re)learn these fundamental concepts, with AMNH as my school.

My membership gives me a +1 on admission, so I plan to drag friends along for the ride as (involuntary) study buddies. After all, science says that humans are social creatures.

 

Exhibit A+

Exhibit A+

So it turns out my favorite museum on the planet is probably even cooler behind the scenes than I imagined. At tonight’s Gizmodo/io9 Tech Tweetup at AMNH (Twitter: #AMNHTweetup), we were treated to a short tour and talk with the folks developing the technology behind some of their latest exhibit.

Among the fascinating revelations: AMNH custom-builds their own multitouch surfaces for exhibits because, as one staffer put it, the off-the-shelf stuff “gets destroyed by ten year-old boys in like five minutes.”

Awesome.

(American Museum of Natural History, Manhattan)

 

Natural Museum History

Natural Museum History

My favorite museum in New York is the Museum of Natural History. And one of my favorite things about the museum is that it’s kind of a museum of museum history, too. For me, the meta-exhibit of presentation styles is almost as great as the exhibits themselves. I love that the Hall of Gems and Minerals feels like a mod 1960s living room with its wall-to-wall carpeting, multiple levels, and funky angles. And that our early ancestors of Human Biology and Evolution actually live in a 1980s Trump-esque glass and black tile condo. And that the miniature hard-working farmers of the Hall of New York State Environment toil stoically amongst walls of 1950s wood paneling. And, finally, that the grand old dinosaurs were finally able to find some plasma TVs that didn’t clash with their palatial Beaux-Arts digs.

(American Museum of Natural History, 81 St & Central Park West, Manhattan)

 
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