Rewind to the birth of humanism


There's this very small, century-old looking building in the corner of Venice and Bagley: The Museum of Jurassic Technology.

In the dim lighted entry hall, what seems to be a random assortment of stuff you can't quite make out surrounds the front desk. After being welcomed you are told you may start out with the museum's audio introductory in the next room.

The museum's name has nothing to do with dinosaurs, despite the term 'Jurassic,' which many associate with the blockbuster film "Jurassic Park." In fact, the title is indefinite in itself. The museum serves the public as a ride into exhibits of various subjects that go back as far as the 1600s.

This museum could be seen as a cove harboring certain passions of the intellectual, and those passions are meant to be shared with visitors to the museum, despite the sense that each exhibit seems completely unrelated. It could more or less be looked at as a junkyard for passions.

According to the museum's introductory video and audio, its origin is inspired by the movement of humanism during the 16th and 17th centuries. Humanism refers to when objects of animated nature and the phenomena of the material world began to be looked at with scientific interest.

The museum has been around for a little over twenty years, acting as an educational institution for those with a scholarly mind. Some of the collections were noted for their unusual technological qualities in their time.

As you explore the museum you begin to realize that the randomness will never escape you. With exhibits like "Rotten Luck," which pertains to 'failing dice' from the collections of Ricky Jay, "The One-Hundred Inch Telescope" and "The Sixty Inch Telescope," it's clear that there's no real order or sense to the displays.

One exhibit that put technological experimentation on display was "The Floral Stereoradiographs of Albert G. Richards." Bold and bright the stereoradiographs stand out against the dark room where they're on display. The exhibit pointed out how "radiography, whether industrial, dental, or floral, is the process whereby an object exposed to x-rays, casts its 'shadow' upon film."

"The silliest exhibit to me here has got be the ‘American Gray Fox' where you look through the glass, and there is a man sitting there barking," Clara Dykstra, museum employee, laughed when asked about the museum's exhibits.

To anyone who holds a fascination for others' material attachments, this place is for them. The museum is open Thursday through Sunday. For students it's a suggested donation of $3.

People can come here and see something they never even thought of or they might read a stem of information that they appreciate learning. People are in for a visual experience of fascinations that exude a learner's mind. It's strange, unusual, random, but mind-turning.