jedcstuff

2006-03-16

Cluster vignette on "Museums"

Going to museums and zoos with my parents were the big events of my childhood years. Both kinds of places had their own flavor of magical quality, almost alternate universes from my everyday life. Zoos had living creatures of strange shapes, seen from afar, a bit like the pets I strove to have at home as companions. Museums also had some similar creatures that the zoo did, except the ones at museums were frozen in motion, ever unchanging. And the museums had even stranger looking animals. At museums were also many other kinds of relics, collections of interesting things far more diverse and complete than my own collections. Dazzling mineral rock collection displays, seashell collections on display, tools and furniture and relics used by bygone people, there in museums like statues’ messages from the past. Dinosaur skeletons were especially interesting, particularly the Dimetrodon with its sail-like finned spine, not really a “Dinosaur” I’ve since learned. I still have some of my own collections, little treasures; most are stashed away in boxes labeled “museum stuff” to describe contents, buried so well I’ve not seen the boxes in years. I now have plenty of “museum” in my life, recent years volunteering and part-time work in Invertebrate Paleontology, Marine Biodiversity Processing Center, and Crustacea-Isopods at NHMLAC facilities, being one of several people who help do the routine dull repetitive work so the researchers can focus on the main issues. I also volunteer Sunday afternoons at the little Bolton Hall Museum, nearer where I live. Going to museums is still a major event of my life, and now I participate, instead of just observing.

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