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Re: Papers,Reports,etc(+ more)
There are at least 2-3 ways to get behind the scenes at a museum.
Some museums have special 'Behind-the-Scenes' days - for which you may
pay extra. You usually get to see several areas of the museum that way, but
only for a few hours. The other ways are actual two versions of the same
Here in Philadelphia, the Academy of Natural Sciences (ANSP) has a
program of volunteers that help facilitate the various areas of the museum,
including Dinosaur Hall and the Prep lab. The original name of the dinosaur
volunteers was the Dinosaur Docents (a docent is a travelling
teacher/guide - and is the common name for similar positions throughout the
country at museums and zoos). They train (I used to do some of the
training) the dinosaur docents for a few weeks, then allow them/you to work
in the room helping visitors understand dinosaurs better. You get to see a
lot of the backroom stuff as well - especially when new exhibits are
arriving (You may need to train separately for new, related exhibits).
Sherry Micheal, who is on this list, has been a fossil preparator in the
Dinosaur Prep Lab (which has been installed in the revamped Dinosaur Hall)
for a few years now - she started as a dinosaur docent/volunteer, then went
in the field to help dig up an _Apatosaurus_ specimen, which she has been
preparing until recently. She may be able to give you some additional
inspiration. [For example, you can check the Dino List Archives for her
report on DinoFest - she was showing off the _Apatosaurus_ to several of the
attendees to the 'DinoFeast' (that's the banquet held at ANSP) - including
Bob Bakker, Jack McIntosh, and others]. One problem with this course of
action, at ANSP, you have to be over 16 years old to be a Dinosaur Docent
(There has been at least one exception made to this rule). Other museums
may have similar restrictions.
There are other areas for volunteers - the Live Animal Unit at ANSP
often uses high school agers to help out, and these teens are often
recruited for the Safari Overnight program - several nights a year [Fridays
and Saturdays], various groups (such as Girl Scout, Boy Scouts, school
groups, etc.) come to the Academy in the evening, visit various parts of the
museum, then sleep in the museum [yes, even around the dinosaurs] in
sleeping bags, then leave before the museum official opens the next morning.
Guides (usually 2 per group) are needed to take the groups to the various
places in the museums. These guides stay with the group throughout the
night (breaking away around midnight for pizza or Chinese food with the
other volunteers - then returning), even sleeping in the same areas as your
group. Also, people are needed at each area in the museum that will be
visited to help the overnight visitors. There are 4-7 groups of people, and
usually the same number of areas of the museum are visited, usually for
20-30 minutes each. Each group of people ranges in size from 10 to 70
(although 70 is the highest I can remember - usually less than 40).
The advantages of actually doing some work in the museum are: You get a
lot more time there than one trip for 1-2 hours would allow you; You
sometimes get hands-on experience with dinosaurs, etc.; and you occasionally
get to meet lots of interesting people (especially paleontologists).
Because of my association with ANSP, I have met Drs. Peter Dodson, Jack
Horner, Bruce Rothschild, Bill Gallagher, Tony Fiorillo, Catherine Forster,
etc., as well as many others.
By the way, I included part of the original message that includes
contact information for Chris Brochu. Chris is in Chicago, and might be
able to point you in the right direction.
From: the Rieglers <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tuesday, November 17, 1998 3:08 AM
Subject: Re: Papers,Reports,etc(+ more)
>This thread has really inspired me :) I work at the local puplic library,
>which unfortunately only carries Science, usually a month or so after it
>goes to print, since it is donated by a kindly patron. Thankfully we also
>have back issues on microfiche, so i've managed to start a little
>collection of papers. But I have been thinking, and I realized that our
>town is only an hour or so from Chicago, thus I could probably
>interlibrary-loan just about anything I was looking for. and its for free!
> On an unrelated note, is there anyway an interested teenager could get a
>tour behind the scenes at a museum? As in into the preparation rooms or
>what-have-you, I love the public displays but I would be interested in
>seeing behind the scenes. Is this just a fantasy, or does this happen?
>Thanks a bunch all.
> Ben Riegler
>> From: chris brochu <email@example.com>
>> Christopher Brochu
>> Department of Geology
>> Field Museum of Natural History
>> Roosevelt Road at Lake Shore Drive
>> Chicago, IL 60605