Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology: The Exhibition

I had reason to be hanging around the National Geographic Museum in DC today, so I thought I would check this out. It's pretty cool! It is reminiscent of the James Bond Exhibit at the Spy Museum. Lots of artifacts from the movies, mixed in with various archaeological artifacts. Interestingly, it features a portable tablet with headphones that is somewhat essential to the exhibit. You enter numbers into it based on where you are in the exhibit, and it plays sound bites or short videos related to what you are looking at. There are several looping video clips on big screens in the exhibit, but they have no sound unless you enter their code, and then you hear synchronized sound in the headphones. The headphones are a clever construction that allow you to easily hear what people around you are saying, so you can easily have a conversation with them on. Few people did, though. Everyone's demeanor was as if they were walking through a tomb... and it looked like a tomb, so maybe that's okay? I am uncertain how I feel about the weird mix of things in this exhibit. "Making of the movie" displays are mixed in with real archaeology are mixed in with explanations of the inspiration for the fake things in the movie. Overall, it is a clever way to bring a relatively static installation to life. I did find myself wishing that the audio clips weren't so dry, or at least a little shorter. Maybe I wanted it to be more of a story? I'm not sure. Anyway, it's worth checking out just to see something a little different in museum design. Also: Crystal skull beer mugs in the gift shop.

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