This article examines the potential use of dinosaur parks to reassess the relationship between humans and the environment. These sites have been developed across Europe and the United States over the course of the last century and have been neglected as sites of public history and environmental heritage. Within the guided trails where visitors interact with model or animatronic re-creations of animals that were extinct millions of years ago, a process of transformation takes place as individuals are required to rethink humanity’s place in the vast timescale of the Earth’s history and the fate of our own species in the context of climate change. Methods of affective engagement within the dinosaur parks serve as a tool to understand how natural history can be presented to the wider public as a means of changing attitudes and ideals. As we enter into the Anthropocene and we face environmental threats caused by human activity, it is the confrontation with the dinosaurs that can alter our present and our future on the planet.
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Research Article| October 23 2020
Encountering Dinosaurs: Public History and Environmental Heritage
Ross J. Wilson
The Public Historian (2020) 42 (4): 121–136.
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Ross J. Wilson; Encountering Dinosaurs: Public History and Environmental Heritage. The Public Historian 23 October 2020; 42 (4): 121–136. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/tph.2020.42.4.121
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