Thursday, March 24, 2005

Sick Sad Museum Exhibit

So last weekend, Aaron and I decided to go to the Pink Palace Museum. I'd been years ago. It isn't great, but that's not the point of the story here. The point is that there is this completely disgusting exhibit at the museum right now. Maybe I'm overreacting, but blech.

OK, the exhibit is called CSI: Crime Scene Insects. You go in, and there are several little areas explaining different parts of why insects have a lot to do with forensics. At each station, there is a dead body painted on the floor with various demonstrations of how bugs are an important part of the decomposition process. The first one has a few fake morgue drawers with fake dead bodies in them. On the wall is an explanation of the various stages of decomposition: freshly dead, bloated, maggot-infested, etc. The names are prettier than that, but that's basically the idea.

One of the floor pictures

Maybe it's because of all the pictures I saw after the Tsunami. Maybe it's because they found a dead body across the street in the park. Maybe it's because this is Memphis, and there is a lot of crime. But I was really offended, and I'm not really one to get offended. Little kids were looking at these exhibits, standing on top of the parts of the floor with the photographs of the dead bodies on them. There was a woman there with a very young little girl (maybe 3) in her arms. The little girl was looking past her mother's shoulder at us, and I kept thinking, “Why are you here, little girl? Why is this fun? Why is it cool?”

Needless to say, we left pretty quickly. Is the plan to appeal to what kids know? Sure, it's interesting, but come on. So are many other things that are far less gruesome that teaching Memphis children how bugs help bodies to decompose. Who decided this was a good idea?!

If it were the same exhibit, but a little more advanced and for adults, I think it would be a pretty decent idea. But in Memphis, and with kids this young? I don't know. Kids don't even really have a concept of what death is yet... not like an adult. It just didn't sit well with me at all.

Some links:
I recommend not going!