Science Museum Trip Report

Because of the Chiese New Year holiday, many public places are closed recently. I went to two virtual science museums this week. The first one is the Smithsonian National Museum of National History, and the second one is the China Science and Technology Museum.


The first museum that I visited is Smithsonian National Museum of National History. This museum has three floors: the ground, the first floor and the second floor. The ground floor is basically a cafeteria and souvenir shops.
The first floor contains a mammal hall, a section of prehistoric animals, a Sant Ocean Hall, a section about human origins and a section about African culture. The second floor is mainly about insects, animals' bones, geology gems and minerals(my favorite part!).

The right corner of the interface shows the map of the entire museum, which brings convenience to visitors helping them to find locations and make a better plan for their visit.  Visitors can use the mouse and keys to control the angle of their view, which is the same as the China Science and Technology Museum. However, the movement speed of this viewing angle is slower and will not cause discomfort.


This museum does not have an interface for annotation. If I want to see the relevant annotations of the exhibits, I have to zoom in, even so, there are still many annotations that cannot be seen clearly.


(To be honest, I'm very interested in the knowledge that "when giraffes had short necks". Unfortunately, the annotations are too vague to read.)


 The quality of images is very high. I can see the texture and details of the specimen clearly. Visitors can even "take pictures", but it's a little bit sad that we can't download these pics.


I love this hare (black-talled jack rabbit) It's so vivid!


Screen shots of this virtual museum have no difference with the picture that I took in the museum in person. ( Seems I found a perfect way to avoid outdoor activities, and still can provide some alibi that I'm not staying at my room all day long to my mom.)


One problem about observe animal specimens: Can’t see them from different angles,
If visitors want to know the animals better for the purpose of learning, they should be able to watch the specimens in all directions. At present, view is stationery. No matter how much the mouse moves, the whole picture still cannot be seen. For example, I want to see the leg muscles of this kangaroo, but no matter how I adjust, I can’t see from its back)


For the reason of angle of view and perspective information on this wall will be more readable in the 2D version instead of 3D.


Things get a little bit confused when I get into the prehistoric section, the fossils of dinosaurs are similar, lacking of comments and the observation of details, it's hard to tell the differences between them.


In the section of "African Voice" I noticed the exhibition hall are arranged by timeline. However, in the virtual museum, visitors are able to choose the path by themselves, as a visitor who is not familiar with African culture and history, which is new to virtual museums, visiting this part is a little bit confusing.


This virtual museum is similar to the last one, they are both the 3D scanned version of real museum. A good thing about the China Science and Technology Museum is that it will show the names of every exhibit on the menu on the home page. Visitors are able to select the exhibits they are interested in, and watch them directly. However, CST doesn't have a map of the whole museum on its interface, visitors can't see the location of themselves.


Like the Smithsonian National Museum, visitors are still not able to read the annotations clearly. What's more, the view angles change too dramatically in this virtual museum, and it will make visitors feel dizzy.


I think the exhibits in CST are different from what's in Smithsonian National Museum, they are more like installations that help children and students to understand the Scientific principles. (in this way I think annotations are very important.  How to make annotations become more readable in virtual science museums is crucial)


Also the view points limit the possibility for visitors to observe the building of museums. To me, although the architecture of science museum and its exhibitions may not as related as the architecture of art museum, it is still worth attention.