reasons for visiting southern california

If it weren’t a solid drive, I’d be headed to the MJT over winter break. If you can, you should go.

As its etymological namesake denotes, today’s ‘museums’ are a manifestation of modern mythos, acting not only as the pluralistic daughters of memory, but as living depositories of wonder. In this age of scientific explanation and institutionalized interpretation it is important that we, as visitors and museum professionals, not neglect our notion of wonder – that element of mystery that causes us to question the known world and seek out our own understanding. It is in this sense of wonder that museums find their purpose – to exhibit and provide plausible context and meaning to objects both ordinary and extraordinary.

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The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City, California teeters curiously on a fence between the past and present tense of the typical modern museum. Unlike the specialized museums of the twenty first century, the MJT has chosen to create a hybrid exhibition strategy that places man made works of art right alongside the wonders of the natural world in a way that potentially legitimizes even the most curious of objects. By employing collections strategies from early Wunderkammern and applying them current museum practices visitors are encouraged to marvel at the collection in terms of the objects themselves as well as the legitimacy of their exhibition.

“The visitor to the Museum of Jurassic Technology continually finds himself shimmering between wondering at (the marvels of nature) and wondering whether (any of this could possibly be true). And it’s that very shimmer, that capacity for delicious confusion, that may constitute the most blessedly wonderful thing about being human.”

The irony of this hybrid allows for these exhibitions to be institutionally legitimized while causing the visitor to wonder both at the object as well as its context. Pretty freakin rad, right? If you do go – send me a postcard will ya.

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Play Art Loud! ArtBabble.org
I'm also a contributor to the Henry Art Gallery's Hankblog and editor/producer of the Gallery's ArtCasts.

I'm currently working as a Wallace Foundation Fellow with emp|sfm to foster a new network for the NorthWest all ages music & arts community. Its called The Sound Board and you should totally check it out.

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