By Seth Fera-Schanes
I have been to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) a handful of times. They have a giant Blue Whale, dinosaur bones, rare gems, you know, museum stuff. This is how I typically view the museum after a visit. I recognize the wealth of knowledge within its walls but don’t really see or understand it all. Then I leave knowing I won’t return until a visiting relative or college friend I haven’t seen in 5 years needs a place to stay and a tour of the city.
There are a lot of museums throughout the five boroughs and sometimes you go out of obligation. Not a terrible thing because in the end you might learn something but there can be so much more. Sometimes you need to find an expert and have them help you see past just another painting on a wall or stuffed animal behind glass.
This past Sunday I was invited to check out the AMNH with a start-up group called Museum Hack. They keep the tour sizes small (there were 7 people plus 2 guides.) Tours last two hours which at first seemed a little daunting. However, this was a fast-paced high energy tour and the two hours went fast.
Our two guides, Dustin and Zak did a great job co-leading the group. They played off each other well, had smooth transitions between stories and exhibits and didn’t lose any of us the whole time. That last part is key because weekends at the AMNH can be chaotic with 1,000 parents chasing 2,000 kids…Needless to say, I was impressed with how they navigated the crowds and led us seamlessly through the different sections.
The information they presented was well researched and presented in a fun way. I learned some terrible things about Sea Otters, discussed evolving theories on various dinosaurs and even touched a dinosaur egg. A tablet was also used to support stories and show historical pictures.
At the end of the tour, I felt excited which is what you should be after an afternoon at the museum. I wanted to go home and look up more information and now can’t wait to go back to the AMNH.
The American Museum of Natural History sits right next to Central Park on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The museum is easily accessible on the B and C subways lines right off the 81st street stop.