Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Science Museums

I love science museums. I figured out a way to visit the (then) new California Science Center by writing an article about it for my high school newspaper. My favorite activity in a new city is visiting their science museum. I did that in Paris, New York, Boston, Pittsburgh, London, and of course Los Angeles. I think part of what's great is that wherever you go, the science is the same. Sure, some museums focus on engineering, while others have extensive collections of bones, and still others are more children's museum than science. But when I walk into the genetics exhibit, it's always the same A, T, C, and G, waiting for me. Even in French. It's the same information, but always with a different perspective and a different way of explaining it.

So I'm considering getting a job at a science museum. Yesterday I went to a discussion with a panel of museum employees (one collections manager and four curators), who all said good things about their jobs. They spend a lot of time doing many different things: research, obtaining things (artifacts or specimen or paintings or donations), education, designing exhibits, answering random questions from people who call them, wooing donors at dinner parties, going to meetings, etc. Many of them are PhDs who work "beyond the bench", and they have significant autonomy in their jobs. Sounds good to me.

One curator from the MIT museum (which I didn't even know existed!) was pimping the Cambridge Science Festival. If you live in Cambridge, you should go to at least one of these events. I'm still perusing the schedule to find out if there's something I simply must see.


  1. 1) If you can live with the nonprofit salary and the nonprofit dysfunction, I think a science museum job would definitely rock your world. ;-) And I would visit you, like, every day.

    2) Dude I had forgotten about the Cambridge Science Festival! Someone interning for the MIT museum Flickrmailed me months ago wanting to use some of my Arthur Ganson photos for the site but it looks like they went a different way. :-) It looks really awesome. Let me know if you're coming for anything!

    3) I can't believe you've never been to the MIT museum! I went for the first time in senior year, with Ross, and I'm sure I must have told you about it. You were probably playing a card game on your computer and not really listening to me.

  2. 1) Yes.

    2) Still haven't decided.

    3) Of course I was listening. I probably just didn't get it. Something about the importance of timing. But you could be right. Snood is like that.