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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Museum Snark's LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, April 29th, 2008
11:36 pm
Scheduling Conflicts
Bonjour, y'all. I work at the same museum as another poster here, and I'm sure he can confirm that our "upstairs people," though totally awesome, are not so great about warning us of scheduling conflicts. I was flipping through this week's schedule today, and was astounded to find my Friday schedule more insane than usual.

(I run the Egyptian gallery alone at this point, so all the tours are my responsibility. After 10 am, things'll be fine, but 9:30-10? Oh, noooo.)
Monday, April 28th, 2008
5:02 pm
From today:
Dear Chaperones,

Hitting on the docent giving the kids' tours is not acceptable, and is downright creepy, even if you keep insisting that you are the kid's sister and not their mother. Doing so throughout the entire tour makes you look like a complete idiot. So does that shirt that says "bitch", spelled out in rhinestones.

Seriously now,
Monday, November 19th, 2007
11:35 am
Oh, you wacky visitors.
These are some oldies but goodies that I keep meaning to share here:

This is a clue on the scavenger hunt we have for families this week. The theme is "mammals":

Scavenger hunt clue #8 – This word starts with “H”! These mammals live all over the world, in all kinds of habitats. There are more than six billion of them, with about five more being born every second!

It's posted near the dioramas, which are filled with people (humans, if you will).

NOBODY IS GETTING IT. They keep guessing "horse", because the sign happens to be next to a diorama where the native people in it have horses.

One person, when told the answer was "human", scoffed and said "Well, I don't think of myself as a mammal!"

...Toots, like it or not, you're a mammal. You may not want to think of yourself as an ape (even though you're one of those, too), but you really don't have a leg to stand on with the mammal thing.


Dear Archaeology Museum on the Other Side of Campus,

When I direct someone over to you claiming to have Greek/Roman artifacts, I gave them your information because WE DON'T DO THAT STUFF HERE. YOU do that stuff. Don't send them back over here to me! I'm NOT IN ANTHROPOLOGY. OR ARCHAEOLOGY. And the people upstairs who do that stuff aren't Greek/Roman experts. Not any of them. Because all the Greek/Roman folks on campus are AT. YOUR. MUSEUM.

What the hell.

And why the hell do people think it's acceptable to just show up at museums and expect to talk to someone who can identify their stuff anyway?

No love,
The cranky education person who often hates that her office is right next to the front door.


So, today there was a group of 5th graders at the museum. They left oh, maybe about 45 minutes ago. About 15 minutes ago a woman wanders into my office and tells me she was with the group but got left behind.


That's some A+ chaperoning there, lady.

I just spent ten minutes playing phone tag with a teacher on a bus, a mom in a car (who the left behind mom was supposed to be with) and the school itself.


We always worry that a kid is going to get left behind. No, it's some idiot mother. SUPER. This SO should not be my problem!!!
Monday, November 5th, 2007
11:43 pm
"wait, you have a no-beer policy in the galleries?"
(I just stumbled on this group, and I only wish it were more active!)

I work at a university art museum, and we definitely get our share of interesting patrons.

Man: Do you have a room with art?
Me: What?
Man: You know, like paintings and drawings and stuff.
Me: Well, we are an art museum, so, yes, we have several, in fact.
Man: Where can I find them?
Me: Ah, through those big glass doors there, see where those paintings are?
Man: Oh, ok.

But most pressing in my mind is the horror of family day. One of my coworkers suggested that next time we write "Family DAY, not family DAY CARE" on the posters, but it was already too late. We physically ran out of incident reports with an hour left to go.

Every day someone manages to be difficult in a new and exciting way, like the woman who wanted to feel the Rouault painting to "see if it was real, because you people sometimes hang posters and I don't want to be cheated". I love my job, but it really makes me question my faith in humanity sometimes.
Wednesday, April 11th, 2007
2:46 pm
Would you like an empty wheelchair?
My door was almost completely shut. All of sudden, it FLIES open, and behind it someone is trying to shove an empty wheelchair into my office. "This goes in here!" declares a little old man as he pushes the chair into the center of the room.

"Actually sir, that goes in the coatroom, right next door," I say politely. He was trying to return the public wheelchair that he'd borrowed for his wife.

"Oh," he says, and pulls the chair back out of my office, pulling the door almost shut behind him.

Stupidly, I think this exchange is over. I'm used to being confused for the coatroom; it's one of the hazards of being located right next to both it and the front door.

Not a minute later, there's a crash as my door swings open again and slams into the shelves next to it. The empty wheelchair once again makes its way into the center of my office. This time the little old man angrily tells me in a scolding tone: "I know this goes in here!" And then he stands there and glares at me.

I sigh. This is definitely not worth the argument. "I'll take care of it, sir."

He sniffs a bit, and turns around and leaves, shutting the door behind him. I immediately get up and push the wheelchair ten feet into the coatroom next door. He was still outside my door standing in the rotunda when I did this. He stared at me the whole time, in that disapproving way that only crotchety old people and Baby Boomer parents seem to possess.

Is it time to go home yet?
Thursday, January 18th, 2007
4:42 pm
Visitor Idiocy
I HATEHATEHATE visitors who scoff at our donation box. It is free to come into our museum and look around. Near the door we have a donation box that says on it "Suggested Donation $6". My office is near the door, so I hear people all the time. Today some guy said something along the lines of "Six dollars?! Like I'd pay six dollars to go to a museum."

Then GET THE HELL OUT, YOU JACKASS. You can't even go to a movie for six dollars. Nobody is forcing you to give us any money. It's a suggestion; it's what our admission fee probably WOULD be, if we charged one. But we don't!! So just leave my poor little donation box the hell alone.

Current Mood: annoyed
Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007
1:20 pm
I love teenagers
Overhead earlier today:

Mother: This one is by the same person (Raoul Dufy) that did the sketch downstairs.
Son: It's still terrible.
Wednesday, December 6th, 2006
3:27 pm
Never work in a glassed-in laboratory with the general public on the other side
Rant #2,598

The other day a man kept tapping on the glass trying to mime a question to my colleague. She mouthed to him that she couldn't hear him through the glass and went back to her work. The man then stuck his finger in his mouth and drew a question mark on the glass in spit. (This same man later cornered my colleague outside on her lunch break and I had to rescue her).

On Sunday another man kept tapping on the glass in front of me. I finally looked up and he pointed frantically at the background picture to the "laboratory tools" exhibit to ask if one of the women in the picture was me. This would have been a sensible question, except that it's painfully obvious that this picture was made in the early 70's (e.g. half of the people in it have beehives, the other half cat-eyed glasses, the photo is in black and white, etc.) and the woman in it is at least 20. I mouthed that "No, that was way before I was born," which he just wouldn't take for an answer. Dude, I'm 22. I was not 20 in 1971, that's our lab manager who is in her 50s now. Accept it.
2:46 pm
The joys of working at a University museum.
OMFG, I am not your professor - do not come in to my office waving your assignment at me and telling me you don't understand number eight. (FTR: Number eight was a question about how scientists make hypotheses about skeletons that they don't have all of the pieces of.) I will try hard not to laugh at you when I read number eight and ask you what's not to understand, and you say "That word!" and point to the word "extrapolation". How the hell did you get into the University of Michigan and 1) not know what the word extrapolation means, or 2) have the humility to look a word up if you don't know it already? Don't you know people laugh at your lazy ass for crap like that? Extra bonus stupid points for asking me to explain "extrapolation" to you instead of looking it up. Aren't you embarrassed to be asking me to finish your homework for you? Go read the damn exhibit again.

Current Mood: aggravated
Wednesday, October 25th, 2006
10:31 pm
Dear Creationists, Go Away
Dear Pushy Creationists,

The only time I am not willing to discuss the finer points of why my natural history museum contains SCIENCE and not JESUS is when I am in the middle of training a new docent and have about 10 minutes before I have to leave to pick up my kid. Otherwise, please feel free to chat. I will kill you with kindness, which you will not be expecting, but I will also refuse to "see the light" and go around changing all of our exhibits. I firmly believe there is a difference between Christianity and biblical literalism, and that there is a difference between science and the Bible, and it will drive you bonkers. We'll have a great time, I promise. Just not when I'm in the middle of training very new people AND have very little time to do so.

Also, did you really have to scare my new docent like that? It wasn't very nice of you.

Thanks but not really,
Heathen Museum Lady
Saturday, October 21st, 2006
12:08 pm
i got a phone call at work from this woman who, when excavating her backyard, apparently found something great on the paleontology scale of greatness. what could it be i wondered...the first t-rex fossil to ever be found in michigan? a mastadon skull? a mummified anishanabek baby?

the women informs me that she dug about 15 feet and found a piece of wood that obviously looks as though it's been chewed by a beaver.

oh really? the elusive beaver? he chewed on this piece of wood? you'd better get to the bank and put that wood in a safety deposit box right away.

so of course i put her in touch with the paleo department, because srrsly, what scientist wouldn't want to take time out of their day to look at beaver wood from 15 feet below the ground.

this reminds me of another time when a man called on the phone and said, "hello maam, i've got this rock here and i think would be of great interest to you. it looks real valuable." i asked the man if he had looked at our geology exhibit to see if it matched any of the rocks or minerals there. or if he found on the internet what kind of stone it was.

he said to me, "oh no, this rock isn't like any of the ones you have. none of your rocks can talk."

i promptly transferred him to the geology department because this was obviously the find of the century.
Wednesday, July 19th, 2006
11:51 am
are you freaking kidding me
This is quite possibly the single most unbelievable event I've ever witnessed in my life.

Yesterday, I noticed that our technical director was using a really nice 21 inch flat screen monitor we're trying to sell on ebay for projector troubleshooting. No big deal. Today, I walk past the monitor and notice that it's covered in sharpie permanent marker. At least 15, inch long tick marks on the monitor glass where projector grid lines would have been. Again, that's permanent marker all over a computer CRT. Are you f*cking kidding me?!?!? Fortunately some industrial 409 glass cleaner and elbow grease took care of it, but not after a minor heart attack. Who in their right mind thinks it's a good idea to sharpie all over a monitor. And he's our technical director! The guy in charge of making sure everything works is writing on monitors with sharpies! WTF?

Current Mood: indescribable
Wednesday, June 7th, 2006
10:11 pm
i was scheduling a birthday party at the museum i work at and was in the process of describing the two birthday parties we offer, space and dinosaur.

the woman interrupted me and said, "well the space one sounds good, but what about the girls?"

i asked, "well, what about them?"

she replied, "oh, do girls like space?"
12:59 pm
oh stupid guests, how I love thee

I had just finished up a Planetarium presentation and was walking through the theater lobby when a woman motioned towards the elevator and said "Is that the elevator that will take me back downstairs?"

Funniest retort contest... and GO!
Tuesday, May 30th, 2006
4:39 pm
Get Your Act Together.
Dear Teacher,

Calling the museum on Tuesday with a sob story about how you "thought you made a reservation but didn't and can't we please come anyway!" for Friday does not make me feel bad for you. Lack of planning on your part does not make for an emergency on my part. Also, trying to guilt trip the office staff about how disappointed the kids are going to be will not get you anywhere. If the kids are disappointed, it's your fault, not ours. And when we tell you that we'll make an exception to the "two weeks notice" rule and get you in, but that you have to come after 12:30, the correct answer is "Thank you so much!", NOT "Are you sure it can't be earlier?" There are already many, MANY other morning groups headed by teachers who actually had their act together and called in advance. They win, you lose.

No love,
The very tired school programs coordinator

PS - The fact that we are talking about 60 middle schoolers in springtime doesn't help your cause.
Wednesday, May 17th, 2006
11:34 am
We didn't want your two year old's comments, anyway.
For the record (and a reminder), I work in a relatively small University natural history museum. In our new exhibit on evolution and current research in evolutionary biology, there is a table where visitors can fill out a comment card and drop it in a box for museum and research staff to review. If the visitor asks a question, or has a particularly insightful comment, museum staff responds and the question and answer go in a binder that's mounted to the table.

This binder is filled with those plastic sheets that you can insert paper into - it's REALLY OBVIOUS that you aren't supposed to write on the binder or plastic itself. There is CLEAR SIGNAGE in MULTIPLE PLACES telling people to fill out a card and drop it in the box. Now, I understand that little kids will occasionally scribble on the plastic and perhaps break the pen. Whatever. However, today the pen and binder were both repaired around 10am. It is now 11:30am, and both the pen and the binder are once again broken and covered in ink. The adult visitor whose child broke the pen and made the mess had the audacity/stupidity to say the following to the docent on duty (of course this is in a nasty, entitled tone):

"You know, if you want these kids to write in this plastic book, you should really give them a better pen."

NO, STUPID - we DON'T want them to write in the "plastic book". We want coherent adults and older children with questions to fill out a card so WE can put information in the "plastic book" for visitors who can actually READ it (as opposed to drool all over it and scribble in it.) This is NOT the freaking Hands On Museum. They're a few blocks up the street. Go break their stuff, they're used to it.

I don't really like the public very much today, in case you couldn't tell.
Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006
10:57 am
I'm interning at the Bellevue Arts Museum near Seattle, WA, and because I am a habit-forming-type person, I always use the same stall when I have to use the restroom. But apparently, I'm not the only habit-forming-type person working there, because for the past several times I've walked into that stall, I've found crap (real crap, not metaphoric crap) floating around in the bowl.

Now, I know this has to be an employee because it was there on Monday when the museum is closed to the public. So what I want to know is: what kind of self-respecting museum professional wouldn't take the time to flush so that poor unsuspecting bathroom-users would have to see that? Plus, I'm pretty sure that a bunch of crap is not what you want visitors remembering from their visit... X_x

Current Mood: irritated
Monday, April 24th, 2006
7:27 pm
I had to share
To refresh your memories, I volunteer in the lab at the La Brea Tarpits.

On Friday my boss, Shelley, got a call. When she hangs up she walks into the lab and says, "Well, I've gotten some strange calls, but that one was right up there."

The caller was Glenn from Philadelphia. Glenn is writing a book in which "the hero" (Glenn's phrasing) invents a time machine and travels to Kenya 400,000 years ago. "The hero" is talking to a Homo Erectus and needs to make a torch. There's a tarpit nearby, so Glenn wanted to know if "the hero" dipped a stick in the asphalt, would it light? Shelley said no. If "the hero" wrapped a t-shirt around the stick, then dipped it in the asphalt, would it light? No. Glenn was sad.

Now, what I really want to know is this. Let me break it down for you. Glenn has in his story:
1) A time machine
2) a Homo Erectus who talks (at all)
3) A Homo Erectus that speaks the Queen's English, or, conversely, a "hero" who speaks the Kenyan dialect of Homo Erecti
4) A tarpit in Kenya, 400,000 years ago.

So why is he worried about the feasibility of an asphalt torch?

Current Mood: amused
Tuesday, March 14th, 2006
9:40 pm
This is such a great comm...
Because if there is one thing I love...its bitching about work.

An open letter to the directors:
I understand that sometimes you put inexperienced people on teams, to get them experience. But really...can you stop with it already? Because if I have to explain to one more of your people that me= project manager, so that means your have to go THROUGH me and KEEP ME INFORMED, I am going to climb a watchtower.

Also...PLEASE DO YOUR JOB SO I DONT HAVE TO. I am glad you think I am capable, but really, this is not my job. Its yours. I am tired of covering your ass, just so the visitors dont suffer. IF you care so little, get a job in the corporate world.

Dear programs/interpretation/school guides: Yes, what you do is important. I used to do it too. Its very important. But ya know what? Other people in the building work...just as hard if not harder than some of you. Dont tell me that you have a backlog of 100 emails because you dont have time to check them. Bull! I get over 100 a day, and I check mine fine, even on weekends. Dont tell me you dont have time to deal with something that is 4 days away in favor of planning a program for 3 months from now. Dont come to me with asinine requests that you think are creative, just because you dont want to use the obviously good work your predecessor did. Dont go behind my back setting up meetings you have no business doing so that I look like I cannot control my team.

And for Gods sakes, quit copying my boss your boss his boss her boss the janitor the infodesk the board moses ghandi and president bush on every flipping email you send!!!

Thank you...I feel better now.
3:46 pm
As an addition to my last post...
...this one: http://community.livejournal.com/museum_snark/1362.html?view=8274

I thought I would share these pictures I took last year to illustrate.

These are of the Pit 91 dig (as well as a couple of random pictures of my pet rats):

And these are of the lab:

Both entries are chock full of snarkiness :)

Current Mood: amused
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