Absolute accuracy is missing the point!

generic museum picture

When it comes to educating, interesting and inspiring children with science; little worse can be done than providing them with only the unconditional, absolute facts.

Talking to Ian Simmons, the Director of Science Development at the Life Science Centre, following the visit in October – he mentioned a problem which many museums suffer from. This problem is that in the information provided in many museums there is such a focus on the accuracy and infallibility of the science being communicated, that the importance of the communication of that science is forgotten or deliberately ignored.

How many times have you visited a museum and found that they have a fantastic array of items on display? Amazing, rare and otherwise awe inspiring ores and minerals such as rubies, sapphires, gold, diamonds, painite, taaffeite, jeremejevite, and more. Perhaps skeletons and fossils of species long gone and mostly forgotten, plants and animals able to survive in the time of dinosaurs.

How many times does the writing accompanying such exhibits simply state ‘Gold ore’ or ‘Ammonite’?

Every time this happens an opportunity is missed. An opportunity to give the exhibit a story, to add character and context to make it more interesting, memorable, and perhaps even relatable is missed.

The point of a museum is to inspire interest in its exhibits and help people see more than just objects. The point is the science being exhibited, but equally the way in which it is communicated.

The point is science communication.

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