Normally I keep my posts here in the realm of literature, but I will stray a bit here. Though it ties back to a book.
There are many things a bit wonky about the Museum of Flight. Each typo I see hurts a bit, and I hear that signage throughout the museum can tend towards inaccurate. One of the top issues I take, however, is about a cold little planet. Ex-planet. Planet according to us: the video in the theater Pluto is still #9. Today in the NY Times this opinion piece caught my eye.
Science can shift quickly, and I do think it’s the responsibility of museums and schools to stay up to date with what we tell children. At the Museum of Flight, we promise education and then inform patrons with something that’s been inaccurate since 2001, even if it only had consensus a year and a half ago. We should at least be telling of the Pluto debate, and providing information similar to the Pluto plaque. I see so many kids come through the MoF, and I know that most of them are running from plane to plane with only the bright colors and possibility of guns in mind. But there have to be some that are hungry for information, and there we are, telling them something inaccurate.
Maybe that’s why I’m still hooked on ether. The science is wrong, but it has been acknowledged to be wrong. It has the veil of history over it, and no one is trying to convince a ten year old that the lumniferous ether transmits light through the void of space. Or passively providing information and letting someone walk away without mentioning the historical context of what was provided.
The more time I spend outside of education, the more I want to stand in front of a classroom again. I can feel myself launching into teacher-mode when I’m at work; rambling off the littlie information I know about planes simply to be sharing something with another person. Most often the words bubble around and fall a bit flat- no one is interested in listening so much as climbing into the flight simulator and making it do loops.
I’m not going to take over control of MoF, and I wouldn’t really want to. I’m sure there are plenty of other museums that also say Pluto is planet #9, and I just happen to be at one of them. Perhaps it’s like a dictionary: the standard for languages but the last place that active words end up. It’s only lag time, and I happen to be in the same between Pluto as planet and non-planet. Silly strange place to be in.