Minds-On, Hands-On

Article excerpt

MANILA, Philippines - While most museums around the world mount exhibitions on climate change to generate awareness and inspire action to protect the environment, some seem to have been doing it the wrong way.

For instance, a museum in Norway uses scare tactics to educate people about climate change - complete with nuclear meltdown warnings and scary red lights to boot. Ameline Coulumbier, consultant and head of Strategy Department of Lordculture, said she is bothered that this tact could make things worse.

"What bothered me in the museum in Norway was that it has a very extreme portrayal of a nuclear meltdown, showing the aftermath of what happened. Museums have a responsibility to promote education, it's a priority issue but it's also important to address correctly the goals you have in putting up a museum," points out Coulumbier, one of the speakers during the 2nd Asian Children's Museum Conference organized by the Museo Pambata, at the Manila Hotel.

Lordculture is part of the international network Lord Cultural Resources which provides consulting services for the culture sector in France and other countries. It particularly assists in developing museum projects for organizations. Recently, it won a bid to develop the exhibitions of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP). This has led them to create "Forward", a project that explains the policy and market failures around climate change exhibitions.

In setting up a museum, Coulumbier says one should be able to address these factors: Who is your target market. What is the message that you want to convey and how to do it.

"If there is one thing they need to have in mind when they leave the exhibition, what is that? Often people want to say too much in an exhibition so when visitors leave, they can't even remember anything," she notes.

Coulumbier says a good museum should be one that engages the individual, the consumer, and the citizen. It should be a minds-on and hands-on exhibition.

"Good exhibitions are those you can relate to, you can make a link between what is being said and your life so that you can apply it and engage more. Interactivity doesn't mean only multimedia. It can be through an educator. It's not top-down information, it's not the knowledge that they put down to you. It's what we call the minds-on and hands-on exhibition where you use almost all senses, and your mind to form an opinion," explains Coulumbier. …