“Likeability” is a term used to determine, in this case, a museums impact and relevance to the world around it. When some think of museums, a stuffy and exclusive institution may come to mind. Currently in my Issues in Museums class, the measurability of “Likability” to the mainstream, 21st century museum is being examined. For this project, I chose to set my focus on The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.
In order to measure the likability of an institution, we must focus on T.R.U.S.T, or Truth, Relevance, Unselfishness, Simplicity, and Timing. In short, this acronym represents the attributes that make any institution likeable. In concentrating my studies on the Academy of Natural Science, I discovered that the institution is nothing is not likable.
As a research facility with a reputation for putting out reputable information in the field of science, the Academy of Natural Science is a consistent institution. It has instilled the trust of the outlying community for its advancements in the natural sciences. The museums programming has been able to keep the institution relevant to its audience base. Primarily seen as a “Children’s Museum”, The Academy has begun implementing more adult centric programs. This includes Science on Tap, a lecture series held in a tavern, and Mega-Bad Movie Night, a Mystery Science Theater type program where real scientists play critic to pseudo-scientific movies. As an institution, being able to relate to the community through programming is key. The Academy not only connects to its audience this way, but by also providing environmental programs to inform and teach the importance of environmental conservation.
The Academy of Natural Science is an establishment that keeps itself relevant to its current community as well as being able to continuously bring people through its doors. As a way to keep itself “up with the times”, the museum has done a wonderful job of updating its interior spaces with several interesting and high-tech interactive displays as well as making sure its expansive collection is shown in a respectful light. They allow visitors to take tours behind the scenes and to witness the uncovering of a new dinosaur right before their eyes. Also, as of 2011, the museum has completed its affiliation with Drexel University in order to provide new research facilities and the use of its researchers to a new group of students.
The Academy has been able to stay likable. Through programming, scientific research, updated exhibits, and a connection to the community at large, it will remain a destination in the Philadelphia area for decades to come.