Sunday, July 1, 2007

Stamford Museum and Nature Center

The family and I went to the
Stamford Museum and nature Center
today.







We had a good time, except for their no photography policy. See below for the message I sent to them regarding this policy:




Hello -

I'm writing to to inform you of my displeasure with you no photography policy in the museum. My family and I just returned from an otherwise wonderful first time trip to the Stamford Museum and nature Center.

We first looked at the geese and ducks in the pond, and then we saw Eddie the Otter. We then explored the farm area. It was all delightful.

Next we entered the museum building through the front door near the NY Central steam engine model. It is a very nice model. We then went around the corner past the docent at the desk and into the room with the telescopes. As I was preparing to take a wide shot of the telescopes with my camera, the docent informed me that photography was not allowed.

I acknowledged this, put my camera away in my backpack, and proceeded to view the objects on display, including the Hubble transparencies.

A few minutes later, i asked the docent to explain the purpose of the no photography policy. She began to explain that many of the items on display actually belong to NASA. I interrupted her to point out that NASA was a public institution payed for by US taxpayers. She then said that she does not make the rules. I replied that I understood that, but that she should understand the purpose of the rules she is enforcing. I then said that photography of the items on display can only serve to promote the Museum. I explained that if I was allowed to take photographs, I would have told my photographer friends that it is a great place to go and shoot, and that now I would be sure to tell them not to go.

I can only assume that the items the docent referred to as being owned by NASA were the Hubble transparencies. If I am not mistaken, all of the images displayed at the Museum are freely available at http://hubblesite.org/ or other NASA websites at resolutions far exceeding what you have on display.

I do not believe the is any logical way to justify your no photography policy and that you should re-evaluate that policy.

For more information on this debate, I refer you to the following article by noted blogger and photographer, Thomas Hawk:

http://thomashawk.com/2004/08/editorial-on-camera-policies-in.html




UPDATE:

I heard from the museum today (2007/07/02) with some good news. It seems that the docent was not telling the whole story. It was just one particular exhibit that the no photography policy applied to, and not the museum as a whole. The next exhibit "The Motorcycle: Italian Style" will be open to non-flash photography. I replied, and applauded their quick response and open attitude. I suggested that they educate their staff more thoroughly on this topic, and that they ask future exhibit participants with no photography policies to re-examine those policies.

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