Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Apartheid Museum

Yesterday a friend and I (we are both educated as graphic designers and she is still in the industry) went to the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg.

I am sad to say that I am quite disappointed. I've heard these stories of tourists that attend it and start to cry terribly. I saw a number of tourists there yesterday, none of them seemed much affected. Now I don't know if the museum had changed over the years, but I wasn't very emotionally impressed by it either. There are two reasons for my apathy.

The first issue is information overload. Instead of giving clear visual impressions and evoking an experience, the museum is filled with walls upon walls of text to read. If I wanted to read that much I would have bought a book on the topic.

The second problem, which is somewhat related to the first, concerns the visual design of the museum's displays, particularly the graphic design. The purpose of good graphic design is to communicate information clearly and quickly. Unfortunately, a large number of the display pannels do not communicate clearly at all. Even some of the text colour was ill chosen as it did not standout clearly enough against the background colour -- a terrible graphic design faux pas.

As a museum that ought to communicate the autrocities of Apartheid, I think the museum is not very successful. They could have used many more emotional appeals and communicated the facts in more sense affecting ways, instead of just mostly text.

I'm not saying it is all bad. There was a video that gave a short overview of the conflicts in South Africa that led up to the Apartheid's regime, which was quite informative, but by and large, the museum did not impress me; which in itself is quite sad really. I truly hope that other museums and entities in South Africa do a better job at educating people on South Africa's past.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

No comments: