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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The (expensive) Sounds of the Natural History Museum

Pacific Drift, KPCC's weekly show on arts and culture highlighted a new feature of the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum -- soundtracks for the permanent Galleries. You can find the Pacific Drift story on their web site or via their podcast (which is how I listen to the show).

I was planning on linking to the show, the museum and all until I realized upon visiting the museum's web site that, in order to enjoy the experience of the soundtracks on my own iPod, I would have to pony up $9.99 ( or $3 to rent the in-house audio tour) first. WTF?

Instead of using the music as an added attraction to draw me into the museum, they're trying to turn it into yet another revenue source. Of course, whatever pittance is made on the iTunes purchase, I assume very little, if any, goes to the museum itself. This is reserved for the artist. It seems to me, though, that perhaps the artists should have donated their works to the museum so that patrons could have enjoyed the experience for free while increasing visitation to the museum, a much more worthy goal.

Does the NHM receive tax funds for its operations? If it does, then all of us already paid to commission these works. Why should we have to pay for them a second time?

The concept sounded cool and had me ready to got to the musuem again. I was going to suggest that you go to the exhibit, too, but now I feel scammed and even less inclined to visit. I don't think this was quite what the museum intended. Too bad.

Am I wrong about this?

Can someone clue me in on how this helps to fulfill the goals of the NHM? Leave your comments below.


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