Museums of New York

22 Feb
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Schomburg Center entrance. Harlem, New York.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the Museum of Sex are located in New York City. There is plenty to be explored in New York City and museums provide exploration of edgy topics for its local inhabitants and tourists who visit the city. Both of these museums utilize digital technology and displays in their exhibits. The Schomburg Center is geared towards a wider audience while the Museum of Sex is catered towards adults. Both museums were busy on the days I visited. The Schomburg had a school group going through the Black Power exhibit with a worksheet. The teacher was explaining the concept of black power to the majority black body of students. Another teacher was on Facebook Live to broadcast the experience to her friends. She was giving a virtual tour of the exhibit. There were screens set up in almost every section of the exhibit with headphones. Visitors could listen to news
clips and interviews from prominent Black figures who helped to develop the concept of black power as it arose in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The other exhibit in the Schomburg center was about Blaxploitation films. This exhibit was equipped with touch screen stations where visitors can select to watch video clips of popular Blaxploitation films or take a Google Earth tour of the life of Josephine Baker and Jacob Lawrence.

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Digital display screen with headphones. Black Power exhibit. Schomburg Center.

 

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Touch screen display in the Blaxploitation exhibit. Schomburg Center.

 


The Museum of Sex has more exhibits.

20170220_200527946_iOSVisitors are encouraged to begin in the exhibit about popular clubs and discos in New York City. Interspersed between the thumping disco music are clips of oral history interviews that are describing what it was like to go to the discos when they were at their height. Interviewees talked about the drugs, the sex and described what it was like to experience a night out dancing with a diverse crowd. The next exhibit is on the second level titled XXX. It has glass displays of objects used throughout history to enhance or control human sexuality. Visitors are encouraged to play a game on their smartphone as they make their way through the exhibit. The game determines the participant’s “sexual personality.”

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Both exhibits use technology through screens featuring audio and visual pieces to immerse the participants into the experience. The sustainability of both seem viable for the moment. The Schomburg Center is a part of the New York Public Library with a bookstore attached to also help with funding. The website has a donation page for those who wish to offer financial support online. The Center is under renovation as more exhibits are being added and it was free to the public. The fee to enter the Museum of Sex is a bit high, even with a student discount. The museum is attached to a gift shop which sells a lot of adult toys and books on the topic of sex. The first exhibit about New York clubs in the 1980s has a functioning bar which was busy in the evening. The topic of sex may intrigue visitors to continue to support as the Museum of Sex has changing exhibits every year. The Museum of Sex has the Muse Foundation that is the main source of funding. The Muse Foundation is looking for equipment and resource materials from the general public to remain sustainable into the future.

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