Lots of dinosaur fun

3 05 2007

Apparently there’s going to be a new dinosaur-centered IMAX film at the AMNH in the near future, and a website has been launched with plenty of goodies for educators. There’s downloadable skeletons (although the pictures don’t come with any descriptions and include a phytosaur, Redondasaurus), posters, and lots of websites/pdf files on everything from behavior to the basics of paleontology. I have yet to look at all the resources yet myself, but I thought it would put it out there for anyone who knows of some dino-obsessed youngsters.

Interestingly enough, the initial e-mail I received about the film says the film “includes rare 1920s footage of Roy Chapman Andrews, the ‘real’ Indiana Jones.” I realize this is a hook and superficial connections can be drawn between Andrews and “Dr. Jones”, but as Sarda has already pointed out this assertion is more myth than anything else.

Also of note, the museum’s upcoming exhibition about mythological creatures, featuring lots of fossils and rare artifacts; I’ll be sure to report on it when I get over there next.

And finally, if you look at the bottom of the page I just linked to the mythological creatures exhibit, you’ll see the MetLife Foundation logo. This doesn’t seem to mean anything much; just the logo of a sponsor, right? Well, not long ago when I was reading Stephen Asma’s book Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads he made a point that at the time sponsors often got their names printed in a museum bulletin or pamphlet but did not have their logos represented. He did speculate, however, that over time we’d see corporations become more and more involved in funding museums and as a result we’d start seeing company logos pop up here and there as well as see museum food courts run by the likes of McDonald’s or Nathan’s (most zoos I’ve visited in the area sell Nathan’s brand food, and in the Philadelphia Zoo the only opportunity to get food is from an overpriced Nathan’s stand). In fact, as Asma points out, there is a replica of the Tyrannosaurus “Sue” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park because (along with McDonald’s) it helped pay for the acquisition of the dinosaur (which I think should still be with the Black Hills Institute folks). As museums need to become more high-tech in order to draw in visitors and update exhibits that are the same today as they were nearly a century ago, will we see increased influence from big companies? I think so, and I don’t necessarily think it’s good for the museums or for science in general, but the money does have to come from somewhere. It’s a problem that I’m ill-equipped to suggest a solution to.


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