Gila monster-should I pet it?

Tumamoc Open House Part 2

Gila monster-should I pet it?
Once it bites, it does not let go--it spends all day slowly chewing its venom into your skin...

There was a tremendous response to the open house at the Desert Lab the past two weekends. It was like a combination a science fair and block party. Everybody working on the Hill was pleasantly surprised and overwhelmed by the amount of genuine interest and respect for the place on the part of  the community.

I was wondering at first about the science-meeting style posters that were placed on easels in the main room. According to theories of typography, graphic design, and museum visitor studies, nobody should read these dense conglomerations of technical data. The resolution is rough, there was too much tiny text, graphs and charts, rules of layout were broken! I was sure that, even at scientific conferences, only the most specialized nerds read these kind of posters. I usually don’t.

But I was wrong.  The posters were edited for a general audience and jargon mostly replaced with English. And the huge latent interest in the Hill made the fine details of presentation irrelevant. People were ready for the real science and hungry for it.

Visitors these past two weekends stood in line and read the stuff all the way through. Posters featuring swimsuit models, cute baby animals with funny captions would not have grabbed this much visitor interaction. That interaction between inanimate signs and visitors is the gold standard for evaluating interpretive exhibits. There were people smiling, pointing to the posters and talking to each other about the content, interrogating scientists with questions, or just standing silently, as if in a trance, staring at them.

The images here are available for any educational use to benefit Tumamoc Hill. If anyone wants to see more, contact me. This is just a sampler.

interacting with the snake poster
Learning to count rattler tail segments.
a woodwind quintet premiers "Tumamoc Hill" in the Tumamoc library room,
The final event in: a woodwind quintet premiers "Tumamoc Hill" in the Tumamoc library room, an original composition by S. Anthony Amstutz

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