Normally when I go to a conference I avoid the social events because they're essentially a bunch of people in a big room eating food that is too small off a napkin that is too floppy trying to think of something to talk about. But I want to commend the organizers of the conference here in Duluth for thinking to have social events in museums - at the aquarium on opening day and at the railway museum last night. I was like a kid in a candy shop taking photos of animals, climbing on trains, and just having fun. To me, museums have always defined the way I like to learn - on my own, unfettered, choosing my own direction. That's why I get upset when they ban photos - they may be thinking about fundraising (they are not protecting the exhibits - I have yet to see a videocam with a flash, but those too are banned) but what they are doing is blocking learning - blocking, indeed, the very function for which they were built.
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