Quick question: How much does a polar bear weigh? Just enough to break the ice! This was one of the gems delivered by Dustin and Zak during the Museum Hack Audience Development workshop held recently at the Royal Tyrrell Museum.
Museum Hack is a company based out of New York City whose specialty is developing interactive, subversive, and non-traditional tours of art and natural history museums. They endeavour to evolve and modernize how visitors think of museums. Dusty halls filled with boring old stuff? Nope. Museums are overflowing with tantalizing tales behind every specimen on display.
The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology is no exception, our fossils have secrets. T. rex and Triceratops are just the tipping point as palaeontology spans 3.9 billion years of Earth’s history and studies a myriad of organisms. Museum Hack was here to bring our staff new ideas on how to share our love of the science of palaeontology with our visitors.
The day began, not with Dustin and Zak lecturing our staff in a classroom, but by bringing our team into the Museum’s galleries and experiencing the space as if we were visitors. We howled with our dire wolf because winter is coming. We stood under our elasmosaur and discussed the dirty scientific feud that developed when the species was first unveiled (seriously, go look up the Bone Wars right now, it’s fantastic). We received wildly scientifically inaccurate plastic dinosaurs, were tasked with finding their match in our galleries, and taking a selfie with it.
Those, and the many other activities of the workshop, are not what you would expect from a traditional museum experience. Learning about the Museum Hack style challenged us as interpreters to expand the possibilities of how we connect visitors to science. Mixing mind-blowing scientific facts with fun ‘ice breakers’ creates engagement that is memorable and demands a return visit to learn more.
If you find yourself in New York City, Washington DC, or San Francisco book a Museum Hack Tour.