Guest blogger James writes…
I am on work experience from school and was asked to do a blog on the new exhibition in the Manchester Museum, Living Worlds, after having a look round for the first time.
I thought the way the information was scripted using personal pronouns was very good and made me feel more engaged with the gallery. I also thought that the way the specimens were grouped was interesting and that they gave me a new perspective on how I saw some of the animals; for instance the wild goat that was wearing a jumper, or the jackal that was standing in a box. Some of the exhibits were presented in unique ways as well which intrigued, and kept me interested.
I think the idea of using the tablet PCs to get information is good as long as you still provide the booklets as an alternative way of getting the information because people don’t want to ask a member of staff for information every time they go to a new cabinet*. Some of the cabinets such as Peace, Life, and Disaster seemed empty and a bit dull whereas some displays like the Variety of Life seemed very full. I also thought that some of the titles seemed a bit abstract and didn’t make much sense, such as the Domination display and Connect.
I thought that some of the backdrops used in the displays were relevant and sometimes helped to explain what the cabinets were about. But the sections didn’t seem to link with each other and some things seemed a bit random like the Old Billy (the skull of a horse that had worked on the canal). I thought the way the new displays contrasted with the old building was good but there was a big empty space in the centre of the room which could be filled with something. The information books could also have been a bit more obvious because I didn’t even realise they were there until I reached the last display.
In conclusion, my overall experience of the gallery was intriguing and informative; I thought the way the exhibits were displayed and grouped was new and unique and the way the information was presented was also different. However, I thought some of the displays seemed a bit empty and didn’t really link with the displays on either side of them.
* NB the programme on the tablets is available for download to smartphones