Wednesday, April 13, 2011
What's the Story? A Straight Line?
The photo at the top of the post, a bas-relief as you enter the museum, reminded me of a long-ago comment to a museum colleague. In teaching fourth graders about primary sources she asked them how they would find out about what something in the past was like. "I'd go to the historical society," said one. "How would they find it out?" she asked. The student's reply, "They look it up in a big book in the back." To me, this exhibit represents the big book approach to museum-story telling with a straight line narrative that brooks few doubts or questions.
Serge Lifar, one of the great male ballet dancers of the 20th century. I hadn't known anything about him, but this small exhibition just had so much life to it in ways that were hard to explain. Dancing shoes, tiny models of ballet sets, wings, drawings of connections--he felt alive in the room.