By: Chris Lang, Category: At The Museum, Date: 01 Jul 2011
This is what some of you had to say about the Rituals of Seduction: Birds of Paradise exhibition, from a selection of the results of 250 exit surveys.
A lot of you took home a variety of messages about conservation, evolution, culture, behaviour and design, and some people were even inspired to go to PNG to see the birds in person! The big screen video ("mesmerising") and headdresses were frequent high points, while kids also loved the interactive dance & costume space.
"we're no different to birds & other animals in how we try to attract mates"
"shows the universal language of showmanship"
"I thought it was just going to be about birds. I was pleased to see it incorporated modern day things!"
"headdresses - the collection was phenomenal""The standard of Birds of Paradise was the hightest of all exhibitions I have ever seen here, and can easily compete with those of international museums"
"the sheer range of birds of paradise’s exoticness"
"labelling is extremely good here"
"the variety of materials used in the headdresses, especially the vibrant green beetles"
"we are strongly influenced by nature"
"diversity of different cultures, and the huge differences between closely related species many people realised the similarities that exist between diverse cultures and species"
"very comprehensive exhibition on all topics surrounding these birds"
"I walked out feeling that people needed more colour in their lives"
"beautiful, well presented and good for all ages"
"congratulate the people that did this for their hard work and inspiration"
"costumes for kids was very cool"
"keep up the good work"
"a sense of cultural diversity. Never seen anything like it before or anywhere else"
"I am a science teacher and will definitely tell my students about it"
"the only thing I didn't like was how little I knew about it before!"
"animals and birds are our kin in some way - possible that I feel closer to some birds than to some people"
"really good balance between stationary material and video footage"
"so many species i had never heard of before"
"So many kinds of birds of paradise - we don't appreciate them, and don't truly know how many are alive or how many have been killed"
Naturally your comments included some constructive criticism too, which we feed back into the design process so we can continually improve the development of future exhibitions. These comments mentioned low lighting conditions (many fragile objects can be damaged by light, but this can be an issue for people with visual impairment), seating, noise levels (we're currently undergoing construction of new exhibition spaces), the presentation of dead specimens (which we have tried to address through the use of novel frosted glass, although this then raises its own issues), and some interactives not working at the time (a common problem with all technology, which needs constant attention in any museum). It's worth noting too that what some people liked what others saw as negatives such as achieving the right balance of biological and cultural objects in the exhibition, which is especially difficult when attempting to comprehensively cover any topic.