Saturday, September 29, 2012

Quick Take: Finding The Spider

Did this ever happen to you?  You're at a zoo (or aquarium, or nature center, or museum ...) and you're trying to find a cool animal inside the tank or enclosure --- and then get frustrated because, try as you might, you can't see the darn thing that's supposed to be inside!

I saw a neat and simple (not to mention cheap!) solution to this problem recently inside the Spiders Alive! exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York.

The approach that AMNH takes (as you can see illustrated at the top of this post, and below this paragraph) is sticky notes!  Well, sticky arrows specifically.  It's easy and it's changeable (when the spiders move, docents or staff can move the arrows.) I can totally imagine printing larger (or slightly more elegant) arrows onto cling vinyl for larger enclosures at zoos or aquaria as well.

From a recent conversation with Museum staff, my understanding is that the arrows were originally placed on the spider tanks to help the folks who feed the arachnids to find the beasties more easily.

Staff at AMNH soon realized that the arrows made the exhibition experience better for visitors so they kept the arrows on the spider displays and have been using them ever since.

If you're in NYC in the near future, the Spiders Alive! exhibition is worth a special trip  (as you can see from my daughter's smiling face!)

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