Contract - July 2009 - (Page 30)

trends all for fun Successful museums dwell at the intersection of design, education, and entertainment By Michael Webb “Take your pleasures seriously,” insisted Charles Eames, and that motto inspires designers and curators at museums across America. They want to engage new audiences without compromising core principles, and they’ve achieved this goal by making learning a fun experience. Masterpieces of art and scientific discoveries are presented in fresh, exciting ways, and a special effort is being made to attract families with small children. Dysfunctional schools and the schlockmeisters of the entertainment industry have much to learn from the creative ways in which museums fuse knowledge and play. The transformation of museums from hushed sanctuaries to vibrant gathering places is part of a paradigm shift that shows up in the casual ways we dress and entertain ourselves. Museums, originally conceived to provide instruction and moral uplift, can no longer afford to be stuffy repositories that demand acceptance on their own rarified terms. Reaching out is the only way to stay relevant and solvent. The California Academy of Sciences, founded as a scholarly research institution in Gold Rush San Francisco, has reinvented itself. Prompted by the damage that the 1989 earthquake caused to its old buildings, it held a competition and selected Renzo Piano to put everything under one soaring green roof. “Life and its sustainability” is the theme that links its aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum, and the airy transparency of the building weaves together the displays with vistas of nature. “To design good exhibits you have to be a good poet and a good scientist,” says Piano, and that combination is evident in the ways that visitors learn about the vulnerability of the earth by exploring a living coral reef, a rainforest full of endangered species, and by voyaging far into space in search of another world that might support the biodiversity of our 30 contract july 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract - July 2009

Contract - July 2009
Guest Editorial
Resources: Alpha Workshops
Green Building Goes Global
The Collaborative Workplace
All For Fun
Group Practice
Caring Collaborator
Life is a Circus
Cohesive Spaces in Public Places
On the Landscape
Castles in the Sand
Face to Face
Heart and Soul
Project Management
Dream Team
Ad Index

Contract - July 2009