While most people have visited a museum, it is a whole difference experience to work in one. I have had the privilege to work both at the University of Alaska Museum and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. When someone asks me what I do career-wise and I’m feeling lazy, I simply respond, I work at a museum. I’m sure that conjures of me tinkering with displays in the gallery or leading school groups. Oh, if I only had the energy to describe to them all the wonders I’ve seen and the odd things I have done.
I was tickled when I saw this gem of an interview with Smithsonian Curator of Fossil Marine Mammals, Dr. Nicholas Pyenson in a collection I’m oh so familiar with.
Next time someone tells you they work at a museum, I suggest probing a bit further. Ask exactly what they do at the museum. Perhaps ask them if they have any neat photos on their phone.
I was also relieved to hear them say the specimen the reporter was strumming and the one that Nick was haphazardously carrying in some of the shots was, in fact, a cast (a plastic replica of a real specimen.)