|Posted by Melissa Houston on September 27, 2013 at 8:00 AM|
This year I participated in the #AskACurator day. This event had over 600 museums from over 30 different countries available on Twitter to answer questions. Some interactions were direct but other people posted general questions for anyone to answer. Just as I would answer one question, 24 more would appear with the hashtag and I was in complete social media overload! Here are a few of the more interesting questions I answered:
@DrDonnaYates: Everyone should be showering @BarnumMuseum with great #AskACurator questions! Do you spend more time presenting objects or the man?
@SpinsterAunt: @BarnumMuseum Did the whale really boil alive in its tank at the American Museum fire in NYC in 1865?
@CurateReynolda: What object from your collection has given you goosebumps recently? #askacurator
@TinctureofMuse: Hello curators! Do you read reviews of your exhibitions? Do you change anything because of a review? #AskACurator
@BackusPageMuseum: #AskACurator what's the oddest item you've accessed into you collection?
@JillianJ: @BarnumMuseum @AskACurator Guess on the lighter side, have you seen Barnum the musical and did you like it?
It was never ending and always engaging. People asked philosophical questions, history questions, simple questions, and hard questiosn. And as I watched the ticker go mad throughout the day, one post caught my attention:
@polarmuseum: Collection on fire? We'd save Capt Oates' sleeping bag, Parry's barrel organ and the last letters of Scott's Polar Party #AskACurator
I had to pause and frantically engage in conversation with the Polar Museum because we too have a sleeping bag from a polar adventure! The story on their sleeping bag is that Capt. Oates, who was sick and freezing to death with the rest of his expedition party, wanted to save his friends from caring for him so one night he got out of his sleeping bag and walked into the polar abyss. Our sleeping bag is from the rescue of the Greeley expedition by the USS Bear. Greeley and his men were researching and barely surviving for three years in the North Pole. When he was rescued, there were only 6 men out of the 25 original party members still alive. From talking with the Polar Museum, it would seem that very few of these polar artifacts survive today. Ours was donated just years after the 1881 expedition to the Bridgeport Scientific Society and has been at the Barnum Museum ever since! But in the words of @polarmuseum, "moulting reindeer skin is a conservation nightmare!" Can't wait for #AskACurator day next year.