Matt Meade and Danny Quijas review UA Bisphere 2

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My partner Danny and I reviewed a museum exhibit and these are our reactions. Danny has actually been to the exhibit in person so he shared his ideas with me. I am using the website as a tool to get an idea of what the exhibit is like along with critiquing how effective the website is as a whole, so in conjunction we combined our efforts to create a review of University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2.

The basics of the biosphere are that it has seven separate biomes that simulate different climates on the earth. The Biosphere 2 is an interactive learning exhibit that displays the two missions performed in 1991 and 1994, where they sealed “biospherians” in the glass enclosure for a certain amount of time to measure survivability. The mission of the biospherians was to survive in the biosphere for a certain amount of time and learn how survive in the different biomes. The exhibit also serves as a research center for the study of the Earth and its future. The tour explains how the 8 biospherians survived Mission 1, with first-hand accounts of the participants. Furthermore, it tours through the separate biomes and explains the experiments that are being conducted currently in addition to the missions that took place in 1991 and 1994.

The seven biomes include: human habitat, the savanna, the fog desert, the “technosphere” (basement area with machinery to control the laboratory), the ocean, the tropical rain-forest, and the south lung. The tour even gets into detail about what kind of species of plants and animals survived in the biosphere during the missions. It also displays how the biospherians managed to find food and water while sealed in the dome. While under, they managed to base most of their diet on the agricultural system that they had started.

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The tour primarily covers the study that is going on in the biosphere currently. Though they do get into some useful and interesting information on the missions that these people went on in the 90’s, they do not get into great detail on them. They could have definitely put more effort into going over what the so called “biospherians” went through. Another issue with the biosphere exhibit is that it is well known that they had many controversies over the missions. In mission one, there was much backlash that an injured participant left and re-entered the biosphere and returned with supplies. There was also problems financially that led to the premature end of mission 2. Also there are many speculations that the tour does leave out many interesting features of its history.

In terms of the website, it is very informational and easily accessible, but it is definitely not interactive in the least. It gives you all the information you need to know, the history of the biosphere, the mission of the exhibits staff, “fast facts,” and even an entire section dedicated to teachers. It provides viewers with the information needed if they wanted to pursue the opportunity to visit the exhibit. With that being said, the overall style and view of its website is quite dull. There are not many pictures or nothing that is very interactive. I clicked on “visit us” tab and seen a video to watch, but I had no luck playing it. The link to the video was broken and could not be viewed. There seems to be way too many words for the average person to want to read. In the 21st century, people like things that are appealing to the eyes and pictures/videos do exactly that. This website has some useful information in print, but most of it was so boring and dull that I had to skim through the drawn out paragraphs I encountered.

All in all, the exhibit does have its shortcomings but we recommend paying it a visit if you are in there area. It is not something that particularly stands out, but it can be very interesting if you are someone looking to have a fun day at the museum or someone interested in this kind of research. In terms of the website, it is not great. There are far too many words for my liking and a lot going on. No online exhibit to know exactly what the person is going to see is also a potential issue. On a scale of 1-10, one being the horrible and ten being excellent, we gave the exhibit a 7/10 and its website a 4/10.

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2 thoughts on “Matt Meade and Danny Quijas review UA Bisphere 2

  1. Your decision to write about the Biosphere museum reminds me of our class discussion about “What is a museum?”. I really like that you decided to discuss a more non-traditional type of museum. It is easy to forget about less traditional museum forms, such as the Biosphere, when we need to cover so many areas of the broad topic “museum studies” during class.

    The “missions” you wrote about sound really interesting. I wonder, were the missions were part of an exhibit where visitors could watch the people try to survive or if they were solely for research purposes?

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  2. This was a really nice read in that it felt more personable and accessible than many reviews. I’m really curious now to learn more about the “missions.” The way it’s worded, it almost sounds like missions to another planet. You really conveyed a sense of wonder with that.

    This seems like a very fun exhibit to visit, but I agree with your argument about the website being lacking. If I were working on a research paper or project for a class like botany, I would love to use a resource like the Biosphere, but their website does not facilitate remote use of their resources. Your review did, however, convince me to consider visiting the next time I find myself in Arizona.

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