Jurassic Park (for nerds)
This morning, I found myself 10 feet up on a ladder with a vacuum strapped to my back a la "Ghostbusters" and a soapy rag in my hand. I had to procede with absolute caution; aside from the fact that there I was, a supreme klutz balanced very precautiously on a vaguely balanced ladder, there was a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex in front of me.
And my job was to clean it.
If you're thinking that this sounds like an awkward deleted scene from one of the "Jurassic Park" movies, you might be right; but in this situation, it was actually a morning at my second internship at the Milwaukee Public Museum. MPM has been running an internship program for the past 20 years, and they place interns in all sorts of places in the museum: technology, development, education, anthropology, history and, in my case, exhibits.
For 12 hours every week, I get to hang out behind the scenes of the museum making new items for exhibits, restoring old and broken ones and of course, cleaning all the rest. As someone who grew up as a bookwormy nerd, hanging out behind the scenes at a museum - the second holiest place for bookwormy nerds next to the library - is pretty freakin' awesome.
There's an amazing amount of work that goes into every display, exhibit, item and factoid displayed in the museum, with the end result that everything has a surprising amount of detail. When I was a kid, despite my nerdiness, I spent most of my time powering through the exhibits. I might stop and marvel at the dioramas of strange creatures for a moment, but in the end my short attention span would get the better of me and I would dash off to the next display. Now that I'm around it all the time, hyper-focused on every facet, I can soak in the little things, like the small, prehistoric rodent hidden in the logs beneath my slightly off-balance ladder and the giant T-Rex.
For those of you who have never made it over to the museum, give it a try. If you're a Milwaukee resident, stop in on Monday, where with proof of residency (a photo ID will do) you will get in for free. Tuesdays, don't even bother, as over the summer the museum will be closed so that we can do productive things like dino baths and exhibit installation. Have no fear, however, as you can still get your museum fix from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
And don't worry - all you're missing on Tuesdays is me, hovering over the T-Rex, repeating, "I will not ride the dinosaur. I will not ride the dinosaur. I will not ride the dinosaur," until my childhood love affair for "Jurassic Park" and the general urge to connect with prehistory pass.