Stephen Asma doesn’t live near an inner city bus stop, but he does write about edutainment and museums, in his cuddly-titled book, “Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads: The Culture and Evolution of Natural History Museums.” Asma relates the story of a T. Rex named Sue, a
glam-rock covers of Johnny Cash dinosaur exhibit at Chicago’s Field Museum.
Asma also examines the phenomenon of “edutainment” including the ways in which museums use spectacle and fantasy in order to illuminate and educate, how much of current museum offerings are driven by a quest for large visitation numbers and the question of the relationship between big business, politics and what we learn at any moment in history.
Less than fifteen percent of the Field Museum’s funding comes from admissions. In order to raise the $8 million to acquire T. rex Sue, the Field partnered with Disney World and McDonald’s. “To my mind,” Asma writes, “Sue represents the best and the worst of edutainment.”
We take pause to wonder how this is in any way the best of edutainment, but I guess we’ll just have to buy his book!!!~!!
Elsewhere in the edutainmentsphere:
- From the far reaches of blogs which use inappropriate gradients comes “Edutainment and Convergence Today” (no joke!), which manages to synergistically combine two of the most annoying buzzwords of the last 50 years in one irrelevant blog title.
- Another edutainmentblog, this one merely called “Edutainment” has a piece on how to draw Web 2.0 logos. Awesome!
- Is edutainment more acceptable if it’s historical (or perhaps if we just call it “engaging education)? The US Holocaust Museum, which, we read, has sworn off all “disneyfication” and edutainment, added the Bergson Group to an exhibit, a troupe of edutainers who performed during WWII to bring awareness to the burgeoning holocaust.
- Finally, KRS-1 / BDP’s 1990 LP “Edutainment.” Dude was writing about edutainment spheres in 1990!
Â So grab the sphere of life and aim it /and you’ll be guided by Edutainment.
above: the edutainmentsphere in cube form