Life as the textile expert at a regional history museum

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Innovation and the World of Tomorrow

The big news at MOHAI this week was that we opened the Bezos Center for Innovation-- a permanent display in our new building funded by Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos (Jeff founded a little local business called

The public opening was yesterday, but Friday morning was the private VIP brunch. It was high security because both the governor and Mr. Bezos were there, so the planners requested staff help rather than recruiting volunteers. I was assigned to coat check which I was happy about because it was basically just my regular job. Step 1: Assign numbers to incoming clothes. Step 2: Keep clothes in order. Step 3: When asked to retrieve clothing, pray that you have done 1 and 2 well enough to find said clothing before someone gets upset.

Besides all the VIP guests, about half the audience were local school children. They submitted questions for Mr. Bezos to answer during a Q&A, and after the program they got to explore the new displays. Unfortunately, no one asked any hard-hitting questions like What is Anna Wintor like in person? and How hard did Miuccia Prada try to ignore you during all the Met photo ops?

Answer: Pretty hard

The really exciting thing about the child-friendly aspect of the event was that the box lunches were served in adorable collapsable containers. After the event was over, the staff rushed the table of leftovers. I was not alone in being super stoked about all the portable meal possibilities.

Museum Life: Low Pay, Free Branded Swag
Once the morning event was over I went back the other MOHAI building to get some regular work done. One of the things on the agenda was unfolding this large fabric banner which had been wadded up in storage until now. All we knew was that it was from a Soviet display at a 1972 trade fair in Seattle, and that it should be about 10 feet by 12 feet. As we started to unfurl it, it because obvious that those numbers were not even close. We never got it completely flat because we ran out of space, but our estimate was closer to 40 by 45 feet. Oh, and it was also really cool.

Minus the water damage

The panorama function was our only hope of getting it all in one frame

It was this colorful, energetic, almost psychedelic celebration of space exploration and Soviet cosmonauts. To give you a sense of scale, here is collections manager Betsy waving back at our space-journeying friend.

To Infinity Improved Storage-- and Beyond!

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