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De-Extinction: The End of Forever Open Access

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In March 2013, the National Geographic Society hosted a TEDx conference, sponsored by the advocacy group Revive and Restore, where notable scientists discussed the merits of the de-extinction issue. The possibility that de-extinction could successfully revive an otherwise extinct species calls into question a number of previously held beliefs; particularly that extinction meant that when a species was gone it was gone forever. Because de-extinction has only manifested itself substantially in academic debate and online forums, there is an opportunity for this exhibition to provide a much needed physical context to relate an otherwise esoteric idea in the form of an zoological exhibition. Encountering live animals, participating in laboratory science and learning about conservation biology issues are all activities a visitor can expect from this exhibition. Hosted by the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C., the exhibition will present the topic of de-extinction objectively with the possibility of encouraging lively debate, individual exploration, and opportunities to dispel myths surrounding the topic. This proposal seeks to show how experiences, within the context of an exhibition design, will enable the audience to better connect to this topic utilizing interpretive strategies.

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