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11 March 2012 @ 03:15 pm
Tough weekend at the museum.  
Although Bandaid's wedding was awesome, tons of fun, life went right back to normal the very next day.  I spent both Saturday and today at the Egyptian Museum, doing my best to help keep everything running during a very tumultuous weekend.

On Saturday, the front door receptionist was out sick, which meant that the intern director had to sit at the front desk all day and sell tickets.  It worked out great for us; if he can't leave the desk, he can't watch us and make sure we're being good little interns.  Not that we wasted all that time goofing around.  But my fellow intern Adam had a talk to give on cosmetics, and he hadn't learned it all that well, so he spent the entire morning studying and practicing it.  Through osmosis, I think I knew the talk nearly as well as he did when it came time to present it.  He stumbled through the talk, hitting all the major points, but right after he finished a group of about a half-dozen girls came up eager to hear it.  They were all dressed up in Egyptian costumes, and the reason they missed the talk was because they'd been putting their makeup on.  I felt sorry for them, so Adam and I decided that I'd run through the talk a second time for the kids.  So I went from knowing nothing about the cosmetics talk on Saturday morning, to giving it by early in the afternoon.  Go me!

I also had to give the tomb tour twice because we had so many people in the museum.  That was fun.  When I do the tomb tours, I tend to think of myself as a Jungle Cruise operator - so I try to smile and slip little jokes in, just to make sure people are listening.  The first group was great; they laughed at the stupid jokes ("Why did the Ancient Egyptians paint the sky goddess on the ceilings of their tombs?  Because she does a stellar job of protecting them!") and were respectful listeners the rest of the time.  At the end, the kids even had some pretty good questions.  The second group wasn't as much fun.  A couple of the adults were whispering in the back the entire time, and since the tomb echoes dreadfully it was difficult to ignore them.  They also didn't laugh at my jokes, which I realize are corny and not exactly hilarious, but if I don't at least get a pity laugh by the fourth or fifth one I start to suspect no one's really paying attention.

Today was just as challenging.  This time, Gee the intern boss was out sick (which made sense; yesterday he looked like he wanted to curl up in a ball and die) so once more, there wasn't a lot of oversight on what we interns were doing.  There were only three of us anyway: me, Adam and Bren.  Bren was meant to give the perfume workshop, but he didn't realize it until he walked in (an hour late to his shift, thanks to daylight savings) and so he only had about an hour to memorize the whole thing.  Adam and I helped as best we could, but neither of us had done the workshop before either.  Luckily, I don't think anyone caught on to our collective ignorance.

I also had to do the dreaded hieroglyphic workshop - my second time doing it - and it was sloppy.  I don't think it was bad enough that the audience could tell, but then again there were only three people so who knows?  I got through it, at any rate, but my debut performance with the workshop was much better.

Now, the Egyptian Museum doesn't have ramps or elevators, because it's an ancient building.  To be ADA compliant, they have a mechanical chair lift that is, frankly, a butt to deal with.  Whenever someone with a walker or a wheelchair comes in, we have to explain the machine to them.  I was explaining its use to a trio of elderly people. After telling the woman (probably in her 60s) that only the person sitting in the chair lift could operate it, she helped her father in.  Fine.  Then, she reaches across him and presses the green button that moves the lift.  WHACK!  The arm of the chair lift, which lifts up whenever it has stopped, comes crashing down onto her head.  She looks at me accusingly, and I repeat my directions that only the person sitting in the lift can operate it, as I previously explained.  I then turn to the old man - who I suspect was a stroke victim - sitting in the lift and try to explain that he needs to push the button, but he can't hear/understand me.  It isn't until his daughter literally shouts instructions into his ear that he gets it, and the lift moves to the bottom.  As it is nearing the ground level, the daughter again reaches over into the lift, and her father takes his hand off the operation button.  WHACK!  She is smacked again.
(Since the father can walk, they decide to forgo using the lift when they returned up the stairs.)

By early afternoon, the museum had started to slow down, so I ended up redesigning the "Junior Archaeologist" display at the front of the museum.  I made it much more colorful - it was previously just a black and white layout, very dull and easy to miss - and added pictures of different museum artifacts.  Hopefully, it'll attract some attention to the program.