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Saturday 6 March 2010: mused

Back when it was open and I'd been to visit it I often complained about the people in the museum on Chambers Street who would carelessly mis-inform their childs about the museum's exhibits despite the clear labelling and informative information cards. In the Kelvingrove they appear to be cutting out the middlemen by exhibiting random shite and labelling it in a particularly haphazard and incomplete manner. There's a little information card at one point which states that in the museum's early days its exhibit-wranglers attempted to display every exhibit at once, leaving little space for people and the exuberant and space-occupying clothes they would have been dressed in at the time. Despite claiming to now be far more organised, offering 'themed' exhibitions with a special selection of exhibits the exhibits themselves suggest a somewhat more random method of selection and display, nowhere better demonstrated than the display behind the information-card indicating that items 1, 3 and 4 are three European close-helmets whilst item 2 is an Indian grey jungle-fowl. The main hall does much the same thing with the aeroplane suspended on wires above the elephant. It's the animal displays which really started to annoy me; in Chambers Street they were generally arranged ecosystem by ecosystem with animals inhabiting similar habitats, latitudes or continents placed adjacent to each other, often effectively interacting and with a decent amount of information concerning their behaviour alongside the display. In the Kelvingrove the emphasis appears to be "what's the BIGGEST animal!?" (possibly not distinguishing between height, length, mass, volume or even area) or "what's the most VENOMOUS snake!?" (though they probably say "poisonous") and the animals are just placed on the wooden surfaces of the plinth, without even a hint of earth or plant to contextualise them. I'm concerned that when Chambers Street re-opens it'll have had the same sort of makeover and will be filled more with bite-sized exclamation-mark-spotted factlets rather than knowledge. Luckily we were there to meet up with our west coast associates rather than actually go round the museum so I was only annoyed briefly and in passing.


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