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Lunch Dates: Emily Graslie

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Is your job what some would consider gross or icky or ewwwwwwwwwwwwdonttouchmewiththosehands? Do you love your job? No, I mean reaaaaally love your job? Emily Graslie does.

It still has brains on it…

This is The Brain Scoop. How can you not love her enthusiasm and genuine awe for nature and all of its creations? And the way she can rattle off the names of bones and tissue, not to mention Latin genus-species combos, is awesome.

Discovered by Hank Green (yes, that and that and that Hank Green) when he visited the Philip L. Wright Zoological Museum in Montana, Ms. Graslie took him on a tour of the building and its inhabitants (mostly stuffed and/or preserved animals), and Mr. Green encouraged her to put up a YouTube channel.

Ms. Graslie has a Tumblr as well, where she posts random findings at her new museum-home, Chicago’s Field Museum. Her role as “Chief Curiosity Correspondant” is now letting her serve as an ambassador to the public, showing visitors what the museum has to offer, and even some of what hides in the collections.

What makes her relevant to WWNdTD? It’s the joy and pride she takes in her craft. It’s totally okay for her to be fascinated in things that other people aren’t. And even better, even if you can’t stomach the dissection videos, she is clearly captivated by everything there despite her own “ewww!”s and “oh wow!”s, enthralled in the beauty of how nature works, and makes no judgement on you. It’s how you want students to be absolutely engrossed by what they do, no matter what anyone else says.

Questions for during lunch:

  • Since you have a BFA, I assume you still do some kind of art/craft stuff. Do you still paint in your free time?
  • You started in preserving museum specimens and are now working on a Museum Studies degree (awesome!) Why museum studies and not conservation/restoration?
  • As a fellow art/science nerd, I really appreciate your fascination with the minutia. Did you consider something like scientific illustration as a career?
  • Would you like to do other aspects of museum work eventually?
  • Are you mostly on the floor of the museum or behind the scenes? What is your typical day now like?
  • Would you like to do more museum outreach stuff instead of museum work?
  • Your background isn’t particularly science-y, but would you take science courses now?
  • You’ve got an awesome video on what makes a museum. Would you like to work at other science museums? history museums? art museums? children’s museums? Smithsonians?
  • I also worked at a museum (see how similar we are? we should be friends!) and the upstairs storage loft of randomly-donated things was fascinating. But, funnier to me were the phone calls from news outlets when something weird appeared on beaches, and they wanted us to identify it. Got any good phone calls?
  • What’s your favorite key on your museum key ring?
  • What kinds of classes or skills should today’s students learn in school?
  • Who was your favorite teacher? your most respected teacher?
  • Ever considered teaching as a career?
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One response »

  1. Pingback: The Female Bill Nye | wwndtd

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