I visited the American Museum of Natural History for the first time yesterday, and it was scary. I think the second time will seem elementary but until then I can only speculate. Part of the problem may have been coming in through the back. But even still it shouldn’t haven been so confusing. I didn’t know what to expect or where I could go. For a while walking around was disorientating, and I never knew when I needed to pull out my ticket to show that I had paid for the general things. The map should have been a help, but it failed for one simple reason. There was no way to know where you were at any given moment. A really simple indication would have been to mention on a wall whether it was N, E, S, W. Ok, maybe not on every wall, but enough that I could flip the map in the right direction. Colour would have worked just as well.
After battling the confusion about where to walk, the actual viewing experience was a pleasure. Seeing animals and bones in scale really brought me back to childhood when you’d see those type of images in a textbook. Looking at them now gave me a really different view on it. It was easy to dismiss on paper, not so much when you compare it to real life.
The design geek that I am, I did pay attention to way things were displayed as much as what was displayed. Yes, I was interested in how the display interacted with typography as much as what the object was. It didn’t disappoint. I took a couple pictures here and there as I walked through, but the above sign caught my attention the most. It was so ironic, yet fitting. It worked b/c there was only one of them. If everything had been set like that it would have been lost. But since it was the only sign like that, it made me smile.