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Enloe Eagle's Eye

The Student News Site of Enloe Magnet High School

Enloe Eagle's Eye

The Student News Site of Enloe Magnet High School

Enloe Eagle's Eye

The Underrated Brilliance of the Raleigh Museums




Raleigh’s public museums are so easy to get to from Enloe, that sometimes I wake up in a cold sweat, wondering why no one seems to go to them. Are they bad? Are the exhibits low-quality? Do people not know they exist? Do I just like museums a weird amount?In This moment,  I remembered something revolutionary: I can just visit and make sure that they are good, and that I’m not insane. In the name of journalism and my own sanity, I composed a list of museum quality measurements and asked my fellow Eagles Eye staff writer, Laura Kohli, to accompany me to review two museums: the NC Museum of History and the Museum of Natural Sciences. For our purposes, the reviews will be rated out of five stars, with ☆ representing a half star.


I, Laura Kohli, have a confession before the article starts. I have not been to either of these museums in years. I did not have the Moore Square kid privilege of being able to frolic downtown. While my peers were exploring culture and science for free, Martin Middle schoolers, like myself, were overpaying for bagel sandwiches. So, when Minty asked me to hop on a bus and walk around the museums, I was excited to reignite my love for public knowledge. 


Criteria One: Museum Layout

An essential part of a museum is how you walk through and experience the exhibits. How well does the pathway allow you to immerse yourself in learning?


Museum of Natural Sciences: ★★★

Natural Sciences, unlike history, is not a timeline. The exhibits are grouped into similar concepts but aren’t connected linearly. This makes sense, since science isn’t a linear concept, but with a lack of clear separation between concepts it’s  easy to get lost between sections and while the maps help, they are hard to understand. Every floor has an escalator to the floor above it, except for the third floor for no discernible reason, and is, overall, wildly confusing to navigate. It loses one point for the lack of order, and another for the lack of way to find your way around. 


NC Museum of History: ★★★★

The NC Museum of History’s main exhibit is “The Story of North Carolina”. The exhibit takes you through a massive chronological timeline of the state of North Carolina’s history. This walkthrough format gives the entire exhibit a smooth feel as you transfer between centuries, slowly progressing further in time, starting in pre-colonial North Carolina and ending in the modern day. The overall experience is clean, cohesive, and understandable, but it can be too winding, making it possible to miss turns into really cool sections of the exhibit.


Criteria Two: Visual Display Quality

The central idea of a museum is a place where you can look at things. How good are these things to look at?


Museum of Natural Sciences: ★★★★★

The Museum has a delightful mix of elaborate displays of taxidermied animals, shiny rocks, dinosaur displays, and even living animals, such as fish, seahorses, and snakes. The museum is impossible to get bored in, with something new and interesting to look at around every corner. 10/10, no notes.


NC Museum of History: ★★★★

Displays in the Museum of History are made up of mostly old things, as well as wonderful dioramas made of extremely funny mannequins. The scenes are enjoyable and the old things are interesting to look at, but they’re not as captivating as the Museum of Science’s shiny rocks. Overall the displays are good quality and the things are interesting to look at. 


Criteria Three: Written Display Quality

In general, it’s hard to learn by staring at objects with no context. How well do the written descriptions throughout the museum convey their messages?


Museum of Natural Sciences: ★★★☆

While the natural sciences won out in terms of displays, the writing was slightly lower quality than that of the history museum. The plaques and information were all interesting, but in the end not as comprehensive as they could have been- they lacked an element of interest or deeper explanation. Granted, this could be because neither reviewer is a true STEM girlie, but if we enjoyed everything else about the museum, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to enjoy the writing, too.


NC Museum of History: ★★★★☆

In the History Museum, what stuck out to us the most was the formatting of their written displays.  Here, materials were designed in a way that was easy to understand, and designed to be read to or by elementary or middle school students. Although this is great for educational field trips, and makes the reading not too dense or difficult to understand, it ends up leaving out some nuance in certain sections- particularly in areas relating to race and racial identity in the South. 


Criteria Four: Interactibility/Material Variety

This category serves to judge how all the previous elements interact. Is the museum immersive? Are the materials diverse?


Museum of Natural Sciences: ★★★★☆

A core memory of the Science museum for me is the light-up globe that shows you different regions of the world and tells you what they’re like when you press a button. The museum has several other delightful little experiences like this, and a wide variety of animals to look at, as well as some great minerals, fake trees and waterfalls, and an exhibit on weather phenomena in the second building. The “non-animal” section could be wider, but I’m not complaining. 


NC Museum of History: ★★★★☆

The Museum of History brings you along the story of North Carolina. In this story, the intractability consists of great activities such as pushing a plastic chicken over to get to its eggs or exploring a log cabin. The little buttons available emit various sounds and information that as a child, or as someone with a limited attention span, can learn about the displays. The exhibits are engaging and the story told is well complemented with small activities that capture your attention. 


Criteria Five: After school hangout-ability

This category is so important we invented a new term for it. Can you walk around with your friends? With a date? Is it fun? Can you post pictures of it on Instagram?


Museum of Natural Sciences: ★★★★★

The Museum of Natural Sciences has incredible hangout-ability. The displays are interesting enough that you will always have something to talk about, no matter how well you know the person. Since the museum has enough spaces that don’t demand as much attention as the displays do, we got a substantial amount of gossiping done. Have someone you desperately want to be friends with but can’t think of something cool enough to bring them to? Enjoying critters and dioramas is guaranteed to impress them, go to the museum!


NC Museum of History: ★★★★★

You’ve yet to live until you take a 0.5 lens photo of a statue with a friend. Walking through the history of the Tarheel State brought forth a lot of interesting discussions, from very personal to lighthearted. It’s a fantastic place to hang out and learn about someone else, with the vessel of the artifacts and displays to distract you if the conversation lulls. Plus, there’s plenty to take pictures of/with.


Our experience at the museums was nothing but wonderful! Ending off with a 4.2/5 for the science museum and a 4.4/5 for the history museum, both left us happier, smarter, and bonded for life. If you’re struggling to think of a first date idea, a place to hang out after school, or just something new and interesting to do, then go to the museums! You’re only a bus ride away from complete fulfillment at the Raleigh Museum of History and Natural Sciences!

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About the Contributors
Minty Parker, Staff Writer
(They/them) Minty is a sophomore who is thrilled to be spending their first year on the Eagle's Eye! Outside of writing, they also enjoy drawing, scrolling through Pinterest, playing rhythm games, and advertising Enloe Color Guard to anyone who will listen.
Laura Kohli, Staff Writer
(She/her) Laura is a sophomore at Enloe and is super excited for her first year on the Eagle's Eye! She is often reading the news or ranting about the news. Outside of newspaper her passions at Enloe include the Butterfly Effect and the Speech and Debate team where she is Lincoln Douglas captain. When she has free time, you can find her drawing or listening to music to relax.
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