The Last of Us Part 2 and Animal Crossing: New Horizons Museums Judged by Curators From the Smithsonian
Three real museum curators give their opinions and cast a critical eye over the placement of museums in video games.
As much as we are very glad to see the back of 2020, the turbulent year did offer us some respite from the chaos in the form of some incredibly good video games. If you jumped into games such as The Last of Us Part 2, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, or Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, you will have noticed how museums play a key part throughout the game’s storylines. Wanting to dig a little deeper and find out what real museum curators thought of these scenes, MinnMaxShow decided to talk to them so they could give their thoughts and critiques while being taken through a series of museum sequences from 2020s most popular games.
MinnMaxShow, created by former Game Informer employees, provides deep dives into many video games, and this time, they wanted to do something with the idea of how many museums are featured in video games throughout last year. Seeking the help of those who are professionals in this field, MinnMaxShow asked the chair of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum‘s space history department Margaret Weitekamp, The Henry Ford Museum‘s general manager of innovation experiences Cynthia Jones, and the interim director of the Wyoming State Museum Kevin Ramler to jump in with their own expertise on why it’s popular in the gaming world and what they notice that the rest of us wouldn’t.
Talking to Ben Hanson via Zoom, the group of experts was initially guided through the Shinra Museum in Final Fantasy VII Remake whilst they made some valid points on things like why there were no trash cans or bathrooms anywhere to be found nor any labels to tell you what each structure is. Cynthia Jones also made the comment about the gold President Shinra statue and that due to the extreme angle of having to look up at it that they have learned through history to “literally, don’t put people on a pedestal”.
Even though the interim director of the Wyoming State Museum Kevin Ramler had never heard of The Last of Us before and also stated that the museum in The Last of Us Part 2 doesn’t actually exist, he did say that he wishes there was a giant dinosaur outside of the Wyoming State Museum because of how cool that would be. The group did point out that it was a really great feature to include a booklet as Ellie enters into the museum with Joel because informational pamphlets have gone to the way-side since the pandemic began. While being taken through the dinosaur area, Margaret said that it was a bad idea to have skylights in a museum due to the damaging effect it has on objects which would, in time, cause them to decay. She also became rather worried when Ellie sat in the Apollo Lunar Rover and that this is something that “one should not sit in” with a nervous laugh.
Margaret also gave viewers a really cool and interesting fact while being shown the scene where Ellie and Joel are in the command module and Joel hands Ellie a cassette tape. “The Apollo astronauts had cassette players with them so they could take notes and one of the first things they did was make their own mixtape so that they would also be able to use the player to have a little bit of music because when we go to space, we take our culture with us”.
Jumping into Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the group enjoyed how Blathers’ museum was laid out and structured with informative labels but they did point out that they wouldn’t have put the Jurassic dinosaurs right next to those from the cretaceous period due to the huge gap between times. It was a wholesome moment when the panel was finally shown the Oscorps Science Center in Spider-Man: Miles Morales with cries of how neat it was and how much they loved the view perspective making Cynthia Jones wonder how she could get a guest to experience this viewpoint. A funny moment occurred when they were shown Miles jumping onto the wing of an Oscorp Spacecraft with Margeret stating that “We almost never allow visitors to jump on the wings”.
Towards the end of the video, the group of experts talked about how challenging 2020 has been for museums and that up to a third of museums in America could end up shutting down permanently. Cynthia made the statement that the best way to help a local museum is to engage with them by donating, fundraising, or just by going online and sharing their content. Throughout the ages, museums have offered millions a chance of gaining knowledge into past worlds and without them, the future looks bleaker by the moment. To support your own local museum or to help out Cynthia’s, Kevin’s, or Margeret’s museums, you can check the links in the description of MinnMaxShow’s video. You can also check out the entertaining and informative video in full, below.