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Museum Church

25 January, 2004 5:05 PM

V and spent the afternoon today at the Melbourne Museum. As we wandered through the exhibitions my mind wandered back to when I was a child visiting the old Melbourne Museum back in the 70s. Things have changed a lot.

In the 'good old days' the Museum was a much more static, dark and passive experience. I remember looking at some displays and thinking that the display cases themselves looked like they belonged in a museum. Everything was behind glass, the walls were all beige, security guards kept you away from all exhibits, the only way to find out information about an item was to read a rather uninspiring 'essay' next to it and exhibitions rarely changed from visit to visit.

The new Melbourne Museum is a different experience altogether. For starters the architecture is very 'now' with big airy spaces, loads of light and enough room too have a good game of indoor cricket (OK, I might be exaggerating slightly on the cricket thing).

The changes don't stop with architecture - the whole vibe of the place is different. People are encouraged to engage with the exhibits wherever possible. There are buttons to push, draws and slide out displays to pull out, movies to watch, things to touch, audio tracks playing to recreate scenes and many displays are of a 'walk in' nature. Then in the middle of it all are cafes where you can have your coffee. The museum is now something to be fully experienced with all the senses. And I'm just talking about the 'adult sections' - the 'children's museum is even more so!

As I tend to do my mind began to wonder across to the topic of 'Church'. I found myself wondering if the church could learn something from the Melbourne Museum?

I wonder if for many churches the 'old model' of a predictable, passive, hands off experience of God has crept into what we do. Maybe it is time for something different. I wonder what it could look like if we allowed ourselves to dream of something new.



Aah, the Melbourne Museum. That brings back memories similar to yours. The last time I was there was about 1980. Gee, I bet it's changed now, although it sounds a lot like the Queensland Museum up here in Brisbane. Lots of hands on stuff. It's still no competition for those dinosaurs and good old Phar Lap that I remember seeing as a primary school kid!

Fiona » 25 January, 2004 10:27 PM

now you can see a 3D image of pharlap galloping...and can walk around it and see it from different angles!

Darren Rowse » 25 January, 2004 10:29 PM

i blogged on slightly similar lines - contemporary architecture and church - although focused on libraries, not musuems - but same principles I think; at http://www.graceway.org.nz/archives/2003_11_01_index.php#106798240562370317

steve » 26 January, 2004 1:16 PM

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