In 2007 I completed an internship at the Roman Baths (Bath, UK) as part of my MA programme. The Baths, and the city itself are amazing places, and I fell in love with both immediately. I hope some day soon I will get back there.
On Jan. 26th the Roman Baths were lit up by some alumni of Bath Spa University to celebrate the 2012 Cultural Olympiad. The results add an ethereal effect to an already magical setting.
Click the image below to see more really cool photos of a really beautiful place.
In 2004, while on field school in Jordan, we would spend most Saturdays traveling to many of the countries rich archaeological sites – in other words – It-Was-Awesome!
On one particular Saturday we drove north to the area around the 2nd century CE Roman city of Jerash. It’s amazingly preserved, complete with an hippodrome (racetrack) and a theatre, adjacent to the modern city (click here for more info on Jerash).
The morning of our trip to Jerash, in my half asleep stupor as I got ready for the bus, I put on my flip flops instead of running shoes. Now, flip flops are pretty much my default foot attire, but really not appropriate for climbing around archaeological ruins.
When I arrived at the Nymphaeum, a fountain dedicated to the Nymphs, I stubbed my toe on part of the foundation. Leaving behind a nice blood offering to the city. I then spent the next half an hour asking around for a band-aid.
The moral of this story?
Always carry your own band-aids when visiting archaeological sites!
The Roman Britain collection, which I have been working with, was donated to the Museum of Ontario Archaeology in 1950; was excavated from a Blitz crater near the this Mithraeum site. It was originally found on Walbrook Street in 1954.
You can read more about the Roman Britain collection here.
Hopefully the archaeologists working on the project are able to recreate the site to more accurately represent the original temple. I hope to visit it one day!
I have been thinking on this subject for awhile now. I read a book recently about engaging children with history collections, and though there were some great ideas, there was an overwhelming point of view that designing for children is imensely different from designing for adults. As if the day you turn 18 you are no longer insterested in being actively engaged..
“No thanks, I don’t want to paint, draw, build, explore, etc. Learning the facts from this panel is entertaining enough for me.”
Not to knock panels, but adults need play too – we still learn from play, and enjoy play, even though we are no longer children.
Perhaps we shouldn’t think so much along the lines of children’s exhibit needs being drastically different from those aimed at adults, but rather that adult exhibit needs are really not that different than the needs of children. We need to approach designing exhibits for children with an interactive, and engaging goal, but we should be doing the exact same thing for adults.
But, as Nina Simon points out, adult interactives should be packaged for adults – make it obvious that this play is for them. Although, I have no qualms myself engaging in activities obviously designed for children, I can appreciate that some adults would be offput by bright colours and cartoonish images.
Some examples of great interactive exhibits designed with adults in mind:
I was fortunate to visit this exhibit (which ends in April 2012) in September 2008. There are two main components to the exhibit; a traditional art exhibit format of Turner’s paintings and an additional interactive component. The interactive portion focuses on the science of colour theory (heavily associated with Turner) with a variety of interactive colour experiments, videos, etc.. As well as a bank of drafting desks set up, with paper, pencils and examples of Turner’s drawings, so visitors can try and draw like the Master. I myself spent a great deal of time in this part of the exhibit!
I have not had the opportunity to attend a ‘Lates’ night at the Science museum, but when I first heard about them a couple years ago I thought it was an absolutely brilliant idea! Check out this link for a video of these adult only evenings at the Science Museum.
Science museums are full of interactive experiments and activities, but on any normal day you have to wait in line behind all the kids – and you feel really awful if you are hogging something fun when they are children waiting. Lates is the answer to that – the adults get unobstructred access to the activities, with some more adult aimed additions.
Part of the collection consists of a large vessel, which we do not know much about. We are unsure of exactly when and where it is from or what its purpose is. As part of the exhibit I included a chalk board for visitors to answer the question: What do you think it is? in regards to this vessel. At the exhibit opening I was delighted to see the number of responses, some serious – a planter? Others perhaps less so – A roman shower head? The response was exactly what I had hoped for; people were think about they are seeing, but also to having a little fun with it.
What do you think? Should we encourage adults to interact with our museums?
This is the inaugural post of Fun link for Monday. There are no real rules or themes for these, although they will likely always be archaeological or museum related. So, for this first link I have chosen something that is both 🙂
The new online collection from the Hatay Archaeology Museum in Turkey. The museum, which is currently in development to open in 2013, has begun with this online collection. It is a really good example of an online photographic database. The collection features two main collections: the mosaic collection and other artifacts (mostly are from the Roman and Hittite eras).
The site features full 360′ viewing on many of the 3-dimensional artifacts and if you click through to the inventory listing you will find all the catalog information as well as a great magnification tool to see all the small details.