The World According to Nick
My take on Software, Technology, Politics, and anything else I feel like talking about.
Saturday, August 07, 2004

Ancient Egypt and Modern Technology 

I went to the Milwaukee Public Museum today to see a traveling exhibit called The Quest for Immortality. This was the last weekend, and I've been meaning to make it there to see it all summer. I personally find history fascinating, especially ancient history. Nobody enjoys it in school... way too many dates, and meaningless details. I'm fascinated by the artifacts, by the monuments, by the things that they did that we're just rediscovering today. I'm amazed by the things that they did, that we'd never even consider doing today for one reason or another. Imagine if a presidential candidate ran on a campaign of building a pyramid of massive multi-ton blocks... what would we say? The pieces in the exhibit had never left Egypt before, and were all between 2 and 4 thousand years old... and this was the only stop in the Midwest. Some of pieces weren't even behind glass, and looked almost like reproductions. Some of the colors, after all these years looked incredibly vibrant. It was amazing to see.

Of course, when you go to an exhibit like that, its impossible to avoid contrasting it with today. The first thing I had to do was to drive to the museum, and park in the parking garage. This is one of those garages where the spaces are incredibly small, and half of them are marked as "Compact Car Only". To review, here are vehicles which are not compact: Mini-Vans, SUVs, pickup trucks, full size Cadillacs. Apparently nobody told the drivers of those cars that they're not compact however, because they were in those slots. In other words, parking was hell.

Then, having bought a ticket ahead of time for a specific time, I still had to wait in line for about half an hour. But that's ok, I expected this since it was the last weekend of the show. While in line, I got to look at part of the normal museum exhibit on American Indians. One of the displays was all about the smoking they did, and the different types of pipes they had. I was actually surprised that there was no Surgeon General's Warning about the dangers of smoking under the display. Maybe I could find a way to sue the museum... hmmmmm.

Finally you get inside the exhibit, and they hand everyone going in a hand held recording thingy where you can punch in numbers, and hear a description by someone about what you're looking at. So here you have a packed exhibit, with everyone holding one of these things to their ear, walking around aimlessly. It's as if listening to this thing pulled a hood over everyone's head, so they became inconsiderate, blind morons walking in front of you, or into you. I'll admit that even I listened to the recording from time to time, but does nobody read the little signs anymore? Does nobody just look at the incredible art work, the amazing carving, the intricate metal design?

Ah well. I made it out of there alive, and enjoyed everything that I saw... and now I'm back, sitting with my laptop, connected to the internet. I'm sure there is some sort of irony there somewhere.

Comments:

10 years ago when I was in London, the natural history museum had this massive egyptian display....they even had the Rosetta Stone...and a mummy room....that is a room filled with mummies..i ran in & snapped a pic for my brothers....it was an amazing exhibit. sounds like a really cool thing, except all those other mindless talking display holders bumping into you. that would suck.

  Posted at August 08, 2004 5:59 AM by Blogger miss macy  
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Name: Nick
Home: Wauwatosa, WI, United States

I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit.


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