Monday, September 8, 2008

schmoozing at the museum

This evening I went to an event at Big Natural History Museum where they invited major donors and a staff scientist talked about their research so the donors have some idea what their money is supporting. Since I got some financial support for my research from BNHM, I feel obligated to attend these functions when I can. Plus, they usually include dinner or at least good cheese.

Usually Leo is at these functions to introduce me to people, but he couldn't go tonight so I ended up talking to two new post docs and not talking to donors. Oops. Functions like that can be socially awkward if you don't know many people. Unfortunately, I'm rarely at the museum so I knew even fewer people. Next time I'll try to introduce myself to someone totally new without waiting for someone else to do it for me. I think it will be good for me.

I really love museums, and my goal this semester is to be at BNHM once a week, even if there's no particular reason I need to be doing my work there because I want to be more recognizable to the museum scientists and students. It will also make me feel more comfortable bringing everyone I know behind the scenes, and I'll actually get to know people in more areas of the building and be able to give my friends and family better tours. Museums are such amazing places, but few people ever get the opportunity to go behind the scenes at a museum. There are so many specimens that will never, ever be on display, and so much research that happens. Exhibits are only the tip of the iceberg.

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