As the concept of the Anthropocene becomes more generalized, and more museum’s attempt to engage in the subject, we should consider how it should be done.
The Anthropocene doesn’t deserve to be part of “Natural History”, if we really have defined this new era, one which is a “new geological epoch that may have begun in your lifetime”, then this is the most relevant thing we can imagine. I felt the atmosphere of these exhibits as described during the lecture: “Human/Nature in the Anthropocene” (given by Prof. Jim Fleming), are caught between describing what has come before and what may happen in the future to our interaction with Earth. I believe that these are both weak grounds to create a Natural History exhibit upon.
An exhibit on the Anthropocene is instantaneously out dated and therefore, any information presented will be an understatement to the increasingly escalating global issues that are so central to the perception of the Anthropocene. Exhibits on the Anthropocene are not too dissimilar to a museum opening an exhibit on the 21st century, the information on this new era starts with recent history and it’s range of data is even more limited. This is why I also think that these installations should avoid any “futuristic technologies”, showing outdated ideas and creating a shelf-life for the exhibit.
We need to think about the Anthropocene as a constantly developing concept and avoid definition. The Anthropocene should be presented as an expo, the cutting edge and a temporary yearly demonstration on developing impressions of our connection with Nature as well as emerging technologies. It should avoid becoming stagnant with a “well this has already happened and there is nothing you can do” attitude (one that is the product of placing such an event in a Natural History Museum), instead promoting an atmosphere that shows what people are working on and thinking in order to deal with the problems of the Anthropocene. Describing the Anthropocene needs to be regularly updated and more discussion based than putting it in a museum.