I can’t leave the Galapagos without sharing just a few small delights.
There was an early morning stroll down to the little boat harbour. The fishing boats had come in, and the locals, human and others had gathered to get their fish.
The owner of the Maprae Museum in Puerto Ayora used to, according to the woman minding it, pack his collection of pre-Columbian artefacts into and out of exhibitions. He decided there had to be a better way.
You can turn it, look over and around… while getting a short (too short for my info-junky taste) description of its origins. Fascinating.
Despite my exhaustion and the late-night heat, I went back to the hotel to get my camera to capture the concept. But in retrospect I realise that my reactions were wonder at the technology, rather than the artefacts. I still remember the first time I saw a truly ancient piece – a bowl in the museum at Belgrade dating back some 4000 years. The feeling of awe, of deep connection to the people who had crafted and used it. That was missing, with the act of looking at these equally beautiful and interesting things mediated through technology.
I’m still musing on that…. and a couple of other different museum experiences.
There was the Palaeontology Museum at Trelew in Patagonia. Highly recommended, and yes, it had good information, classical style museum displays plus some nice newer styles, plenty of info, access to the workshops … and a real hands-on experience. Being not just allowed, but encouraged to touch was wonderful.
And there was the Museum of the Future in Rio de Janeiro. Such a piece of architectural art, and such a concept. A museum that shows how we are currently modifying our world, and what that means for the way we construct our future. Interactivity exemplified. Not just able to touch but to interrogate, to construct scenarios, to calculate your own environmental footprint. “Next time” I would allow a whole day here.
So, three very different approaches to the museum world … and three very different experiences.
But one final too-real moment. Back to Puerto Ayora, and the virtual museum. Alone, in a Perspex case in a separate room, was a highlighted exhibit – the preserved head of a South American Indian. I went to look – I had to see and feel what it meant. But I took no photograph, and left quickly. It is so important to us in New Zealand to be repatriating Maori heads, and returning them where possible to their iwi. It seemed very alien, very ‘other’, to see one on open display and wonder what that meant about Ecuadorian attitudes. Different places, different people….
Out of there, into the full moon-lit warmth and humanity of the town. Puerto Ayora has its own charms as well as allowing access to the wondrous Galapagos experience.