National Media Museum Review

The National Media museum in Bradford is a building dedicated to helping and inspiring people learn and engage with creative Media, the Museum holds 3.5 million items of historical significance. There are seven floors each dedicated to a different area of the media and it also contains the UKs first IMAX cinema.20161011_140713

Personally I define media as a modern means of mass communication (a common modern day definition) and the museum appears at first to agree with this definition as it advertises a collection of modern technology. The exhibition tour offers a collection of the Daily Herald newspaper from the 20th century showing a good view of British newspaper history. Additionally more information and displays around the room focused on photography and cinematography such as a daguerreotype photograph which was one of the first types of photography invented. Additionally cameras from the 19th century were shown such as Kodak cameras (1888). The tour offered a detailed look regarding these areas of the media however skipped over more modern elements of the media such as new media, for example the mega drive game Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) was on display but not much time was spent talking about it or any other forms of new media. Overall I gathered a sense the exhibition was more heavily focused on historical photography than the media as a whole as despite offering a detailed look into the history of photography it failed to define the media as a whole. It hardly focused on any elements of new media as nearly all the technology shown was obsolete. Moreover much of the collection I doubt could even be considered to be a form of mass communication as most of the technology is outdated and would fail to entertain more than a few people unlike the media technology we see today.

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Undeniably while exploring the museum the exhibits on display certainly explored the media in a broader, more modern way as there were floors dedicated to new media such as animation and video games. Despite this these modern forms of media are still shown in there most historical form with the video game room full of old arcade games and very early household consoles, like the Atari 2600 (1977) and NES (1983) while again hardly focusing on more modern elements of the media. The museum does give a good look into how media is produced, delivered and consumed in multiple ways as well as give a definition for it. Despite this, the museum doesn’t focus on key elements of the media such as: advertising, printing, computing or mobile phones, even television is hardly mentioned. These are key to defining the media today so to say the museum supports the mass communication definition of the media is false as there isn’t a good enough focus on modern media and the more modern exhibits on show are still shown in a historical representation.

In conclusion The National Media museum seems to only define the media from a historical viewpoint, failing to show the Media as a form of mass communication. There is a lack of focus on modern day examples of the media which makes it difficult for the museum to define media overall and aid the common (mass communication) definition of the media we have today.

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