I have visited many natural history museums around the world. I am generally not a fan. I go to new ones hoping that some section of it will be interesting.
The New York Natural History Museum enticed me because it showed that many animals evolved after humans reached their most recent evolutionary stage.
The most wonderful and successful natural history museum that I have seen is in Salt Lake City. The incredibly beautiful building and setting are merely the result of money.
It is the inside that is so stunning.
Here are some of the things that excite me and excite me about any learning experience.
The treatment of native peoples was dignified, respectful and accurate according to my daughter who is an expert. The exhibits were enticing and easy to understand. They always had a relationship to the present.
There was a great deal of authentic material such as dinosaur bones as opposed to copies and simulations.
There were many exhibitions with smells. I love that. It is a way that I learn. There were also live animals in microscopic environments such as a poisonous tarantula and a 600 million year old species of tiny sand dabs. There were many do-it-yourself exhibitions for children.
There were many unexpected examples. A dozen species were compared on each DNA chain across a large wall, so all the differences were visible.
There was a meteorological exhibition that made it clear no global warming had occurred in Salt Lake City in a century. A tiny plaque indicated a slight trend toward global warming over one decade. The plaque was small and designed to be easily removed.
A favorite of everyone was a high wall with a dozen dinosaur heads... like the old men's private club with mounted animal heads. Dinosaurs had wild structures on their heads.
Every single part of the museum was brilliantly thought out including the comparisons of human kinds' many ancestors and multiple theories of lineage.
The room where archaeological elements are sorted and prepared had a glass wall.
See it if you can.