January 27, 2011

Tip of the Day: Reading Object Labels at the Museum

Reading object labels at the museum? Thrilling blog post topic, you say. Next please! But hold on just a second, often there's more to museum labels than meets the eye. We've all seen the grand interpretive labels that have larger print and try to provide context about the objects. But what about those little, non-descript beige placards (or white if you are in an artsy institution); should I pay them any attention? Well, there actually can be quite a bit of information packed into these little labels. Think of them like business cards. If you want to know more, get in touch with the artifact, have lunch with a Theropod...read the ID label!

Here are a few examples of object labels from Burke Museum exhibits with a guide to decoding the information provided on each label.

Example #1: Salmon print in Pacific Voices gallery

Example #2: Korean clothing in Pacific Voices gallery

Example #3: Dinosaur in Life and Times of Washington State gallery
Example #4: Scorpion fossil in Life and Times of Washington State gallery

Next time you visit a museum, don't overlook the little object labels. There's a lot to be learned!

Posted by: Emily Sparling