Dioramas and Cabinets of Curiosities in Milwaukee and Montreal
|Plaque at the entrance of the Frontier Airlines Convention Center from the Hilton Hotel Skywalk, April 21, 2012|
|Diorama at the Milwaukee Public Museum, Photo by Drew Saunders|
At the Milwaukee Public Museum, Akeley's style extends to the cultural displays that offer visitors an Epcot-style world tour from the Americas to Africa and Asia. Even Europe is represented, albeit in a more modern context beside an exhibit meant to transport visitors back in time to "The Streets of Old Milwaukee." Although I was impressed by the attention to detail, color, and loving maintenance in all of the Museum's exhibits, I couldn't help but feel slightly uneasy amidst the juxtapositions of disparate times and places. Crafted like stage-sets, the museum's exhibits have a kind of spacial narrative without explicit transitions. As a part of the special behind-the-scenes tour, I had the opportunity to learn about the components of the exhibits built in the late 19th century, augmented by the WPA in the 1930s and then installed in the museum's permanent home in the 1960s. However, none of these chronological mash-ups are illuminated in the museum's exhibit captions. I know I'm not alone in my desire for this kind of meta-text, especially in narrative museum exhibits (a kind of historiography), but this is rarely granted to the visitor, even in contemporary credit panels which more frequently credit donors than curators.
|Photo on http://www.mcgill.ca/redpath/about|