April 19th, 2021 • 12 mins 35 secs • Download (11.8 MB) • Link with Timestamp
Museums can be a shorthand for truth, or for history, or for what a culture values. Disney theme parks all around the world use fake museums as a tool to immerse visitors in the themed environment. This detailed world-building can make the imaginary universe more real—or provide a setup to subvert a narrative.
But these fake museums aren’t the only ways the Disney theme parks present history to visitors. Public experience advocate Shaelyn Amaio describes how the parks “traffic in the past.” By removing references to the present or a future with consequences, parks like Disneyland free the visitor from responsibility for what happened in history. Since the opening of Disneyland in 1955, there have been several iterations of Disney theme parks, each reflecting the way we think about knowledge and history in the times they were built.
In this episode, Amaio describes examples of fake museums in Disney theme parks, details how corporate-sponsored edutainment can reflect the public's anxiety, and explains why EPCOT has the most museum-like spaces at Disney theme parks.