The dissonance created by the juxtaposition of “Jurassic” and “Technology” seems to be representative of the experience of visiting this museum. Firsthand accounts include a questioning of sanity and the assertion that “[t]he museum was larger inside than out”.
As noted in the Introduction to the Museum’s website, “[i]n its original sense, the term “museum” meant a spot dedicated to the muses - ‘a place where man’s mind could attain a mood of aloofness above everyday affairs.’” The Museum claims to trace its roots to the nineteenth century and to stand today “in a unique position among the institutions in the country,” a statement which is certainly true - one would have difficulty finding any other exhibit devoted to, for instance, the Deprong Mori, a bat native to “the Tripiscum Plateau of the Circum-Caribbean region of Northern South America” which is reputed to have the ability to fly through walls, or a collection of the works of violinist and microminiaturist Hagop Sandaldjian, including a Little Red Riding Hood tableau carved into the eye of a needle and the figure of a woman carved on a strand of the artist’s white hair, or a series of letters to the Mount Wilson observatory from individuals claiming to be in posession of “the key to all existance” [sic].*
According to Roadside America, the Museum of Jurassic Technology was founded in 1989 by artists David and Diana Wilson as an “educational institution dedicated to the advancement of knowledge and public appreciation of the Lower Jurassic.” This 1996 story from National Public Radio on the Museum comments on the authoritative tone of the displays: “that voice of unassailable institutional authority — you know: the voice from every museum acoustic guide and nature special”. In an interview with David Wilson called “The Museum museum,” Frieze magazine notes that while touring the MJT “one may begin to doubt the veracity of this particular museum, and this doubt may spill over to museums in general.” It is still unclear to us, however, whether this is a museum of fictions, or a collection of authentic artifacts presented in an unfamiliar way. What is clear is that the Museum of Jurassic Technology provides not just an assembly of arcane “facts” but a multisensory user experience - that its physical location may be just as important as any information contained therein.
Click here for a list of the Museum’s Collections and Exhibitions, and here for visitor information including location and visiting hours. We reblogged another review of the Museum of Jurassic Technology last week.
*I am really not sure how many, if any, of these are hoaxes.