The Lost Museum Archive

Investigating an Institution

You are probably familiar with many local cultural institutions such as museums, zoos, and botanical gardens. Barnum's American Museum was such an institution -- except that the original American Museum existed in the 19th century and the Web site museum is a virtual re-creation. The producers have digitally rebuilt the Museum three-dimensionally so that you and other users can investigate the history of the era to learn how the museum influenced American life then and now.

Your task:
As you explore the site think about what the 19th century visitor's experience was like and compare it to today's experience in a museum. Write about the differences, remembering that in the mid-19th century New York had no other major museums, no parks, and no zoo.

Some ideas for comparison:
Lecture Room presentations
Museum's relationship to the public/community

Also, please look at the wood engraving of the museum in the Archive. It was the main source for our re-creation. How is the engraving different from the virtual room? How is it similar? Why do you think we made changes? What would you have pictured differently? Do you have any suggestions as we continue to develop additional rooms in the museum?