The Perks of Being a Docent

April 16, 2012 at 11:38 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )


(noun) –

  1. A person who acts as a guide, typically on a voluntary basis, in a museum, art gallery, or zoo.
  2. (in certain universities and colleges) A member of the teaching staff immediately below professorial rank.

There are perks to being a museum geek!  Last week was the annual Member’s Night at The Field Museum, which is when all of the collections that are normally locked behind closed doors are opened to the general public for our inspection and awe.  I’m not technically a member anymore but since I’m a docent I get most of the same privileges and I’m not complaining.  99% percent of the items that the Field has acquired are in their collections, which is a mind-boggling figure when you think about it.  However there’s only so much space to put things on display so to the basement the rest goes.  The Member’s Night was on both Thursday and Friday and Thursday I spend hanging out at my specialty, the Maori Meeting House.  It was pretty quiet as most people wanted to see the special collections and not an exhibit that’s on permanent display, but I did have a few groups wander through and at least one family who made a special trip just to see the Meeting House.  Of course they loved it, and me as well.

I would not eat this even if I were a carnivore.

I was planning on checking out some of the behind-the-scenes stuff myself on my way out but got sidetracked talking to two women who work in the ECCodepartment, which is made up of scientists who study and research specific areas in efforts to conserve them for the future.  It’s a really interesting process and there’s actually a brand new exhibit at the museum highlighting all of their work.  I got so caught up in discussing the cultural and socio-economic aspects of small Peruvian villages that I lost track of time and wasn’t able to explore anything else.  But I made up for it on Friday!

To be completely honest, the place was packed and as such, Scott and I probably spent more time standing in line than anything else.  It was still really cool though and one room we visited had artifacts such as marble baths and totem poles that went back to 586 AD.  Another room had millions of snakes in jars (no, not alive) and one python head that was roughly the size of a large grapefruit.  Freaky.  Then we got to go to a different room where I touched a dead shark’s head, took a supremely cheesy photo that is now my Facebook picture and learn all about coelacanths while looking at a specimen.  I was also able to procure extra tickets for a friend of mine and his ladyfriend and they seemed to have a pretty good time as well.  We got to see a little more before they closed the doors and we hung around as late as we could.  Not your typical Friday night but very well spent, nonetheless.  I’m already looking forward to next year!


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