Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the exhibition on bioluminescence at the Natural History Museum in New York. While the exhibition seems to be fairly well received (see for example http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/culturelab/2012/04/luminous-life-on-show.html with only very tame criticism), I think the exhibition has done a terrible job in presenting nature, in every single room of it.
The first room of the exhibition is about fungal bioluminescence, and as every other room it is very tasteful. There is soft atmospheric music that fills the twilight around the well-sculpted objects. In the centre of the room is a group of old fallen trees on forest ground. Yellow-blue light filters from the fibres of the old logs, mushrooms grow with shining caps. A step closer however, little LEDs under paint become obvious, because all there is plastic. This sets the general theme of exhibition. Mock nature. Continue reading