The American Museum of Natural History was one of my favourite things EVER as a kid: I really, really liked dinosaurs and rocks (no, really, I was really into rocks), and also any excuse my parents had to take me into the city. As an adult it’s no less awesome, but the whole place seems vaguely like a giant decaying Hall of Colonialism, Native/Primeval/Primitive People In Glass Boxes, Strange and Outdated Dioramas, and Obsessive-Compulsive Nineteenth Century Taxonomy. What makes it even weirder is the contrast between parts of the museum - the Hayden Planetarium and parts of the dinosaur halls are all shiny glass and chrome complete with interactive computers and touch screens, whereas the Hall of Minerals, a strange multi-levelled mass of grey-carpeted stairs where the crystals are still labelled with typewriter-font-labels claiming they came from Yugoslavia and the USSR, apparently hasn’t changed at all since I first saw it sometime in the mid 80’s. Nor has the section on New York ecosystems, where the crumbling dried leaves, taxidermied woodland creatures, and dusty hand-stenciled dioramas complete with strange clay miniatures are set into pine-panelled walls next to hand-painted murals. The whole place somehow functions as a relic of weird old Americana without even trying to be, and I hope they never change it.
It also is basically a giant box of internet tumblr memes, like, uh, dark rooms full of triangles and crystals, dinosaurs, wood panelled walls, marginalization of brown people, weird animals, bizarre malproportioned watercolour/pastel/coloured pencil drawings of extinct weird animals, and gift shop kitsch. More photos after the jump.
NAKED NATIVE LADY, OH OF COURSE
SMOKING FARMER (literally.)