Life as the textile expert at a regional history museum

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Living The Dream

There are a lot of things that are unpleasant about a career in museums. Tough job market, low pay, and the constant stress of caring way too much about one weird institution in one tiny corner of this fragile earth of ours.

(I thought it was time to end the Hiddleston gif drought on this blog)

But we do it because IT IS THE BEST.

(might as well have another)
The weirdest, but also the best.

This week presented two cases where a career in museum work allows you to take strange shortcuts and do things that other people only dream about. Things like:

Hold Major Sports Trophies

When a sports team wins a championship, there is that inevitable moment when the trophy is handed out and all the players want to hold/touch/kiss said trophy. It represents a tangible connection to the win, and there is no doubt something viscerally satisfying about caressing such a symbolic artifact.

But why waste all those years of physical exertion? Take the shortcut and work in a museum.

MOHAI is the current caretaker of the 1979 Sonics championship trophy and I have had the experience of holding it and carrying it around. The first time it happened, I thought to myself "Huh, there are basketball players who dream of holding one of these, but for me it only took a degree in fashion history."

This week my coworker Kristin, who has handled the Sonics trophy several times, got to add one more to her list:

In case you don't know, that is the Lombardi trophy which is a thing handed out to the winners of a little contest known as the SUPER BOWL. 

On tuesday the Seattle Storm (women's basketball) had a "championship night," celebrating four of Seattle's five championship wins. (The only one left out was our 1917 NHL Stanley Cup win, which is understandable since that team hasn't been around since the 20s). Kristin was the handler for the Sonics trophy, which means she got to schmooze with the other trophy handlers and take the above pic. 

Side note (and an excuse to use an great Tina Fey/Amy Poehler gif) the other two trophies on display belonged to the Seattle Storm themselves, the only professional team in Seattle to win TWO trophies. 

And now onto our second weird fantasy situation, in a museum job you might...

Have Bags Of Weed Openly Sitting Around Your Office

In case you haven't heard (and there is a high likelihood you HAVE heard because this story was picked up by the AP and made it into national and international news sites) this happened: 

MOHAI got a super cool donation this week when the woman who bought Seattle's first legal marijuana donated some items to commemorate the historic event. Among the acquisition was part of her purchase: one little state-sactioned packet of pot. And for about a day it was just sitting with a pile of stuff in the middle of my office. WHICH IS SO WEIRD. 

Also among the items were the hat and shirt she was wearing to wait in line overnight--which are, of course, under my jurisdiction now. If you want an idea of my level of cannabis familiarity prior to this point, let me only say that when the shirt arrived I had to google the word "Sativa" to realize that the message on her shirt had something to do with the herb in question. 

Anyway museum work is strange and wonderful. Although I should clarify that if you actually want to touch the trophies with your bare, oily hands, you are out of luck. And if you think that we actually get to consume marijuana in the office, you are dreaming. 

Lord knows what kinds of bugs that would attract. 

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