What do meerkats, the Canadian Pacific, coral reefs, and the Dead Sea scrolls all have in common?
Maybe I should have added a fifth item, so we could play “one of these things is not like the others.” But that’s all right. The answer is that I saw all four of them at Boston’s Museum of Science this week. Here is a quick summary:
- Meerkats 3D is a short National Geographic film about meerkats (obviously) in 3D (obviously). Although it’s a lot like Animal Planet’s Meerkat Manor, it’s well worth seeing, partly for the cuteness factor and partly to see the dynamics of the meerkats’ extended family.
- The building of the Canadian Pacific Railway is the theme of IMAX film Rocky Mountain Express, which is not in 3D but is spectacular nonetheless, probably because it’s in IMAX . And anything that goes through the Canadian Rockies is going to be spectacular, no matter what. I highly recommend this film, not only for its scenic value but also for the fascinating history involved in the daunting and highly dangerous task of building this railway.
- Coral reefs are the theme of another IMAX film, The Last Reef. Beautiful, but not especially exciting. Or maybe that’s just my bias, preferring railroads and scenery with mountains and water over water alone.
- Finally, the Dead Sea scrolls make their appearance as the museum’s current blockbuster exhibit. In addition to excerpts from the actual scrolls (under low light, unfortunately but necessarily), the exhibit includes a large quantity of other historical artifacts from the time and place of the Dead Sea scrolls. So we get a nice combo of history, religion, and archeology. There is a live guide for the first ten minutes, and then it’s the usual self-guided exploration. It was all interesting, especially the religious angle, which played up the history of the area as the cradle of three of today’s major religions, stressing their similarities rather than their differences. It especially refreshing to see an exhibit that makes references like “the Hebrew Bible, which Christians call the Old Testament,” and that consistently refers to dates as BCE and CE rather than BC and AD. It shouldn’t be unusual…but it is.