Behind the Scenes as an Exhibits Intern
by Bailey Ferster
Summer is the time of the year for ice cream cones, endless days at the pool, shorts and flip-flops. It’s that warm season when we all forget about work and just relax. That’s how most people feel about summer, including me, until this year.
For the past three months I’ve been working as an exhibits intern at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. It isn’t the run of the mill internship, with part-time hours and sleeping on the job. The Exhibits Department always keeps you on your toes, consistently working to ensure everything in the Museum is working properly. I didn’t know how much work there needed to be done, but in all honesty, it never ends.
To some people, this might be mind-racking to never have a moment’s peace, but for Exhibits it is just a typical day. The whole department is composed of individuals who not only are great at their respective jobs, but are truly delightful people. I’m greeted every day with warm smiles and kindness. The whole building makes me feel appreciated for all that I do, every day I come into the Museum. It’s a great feeling to be appreciated by others, and makes working a full time week that much more enjoyable.
And working here is enjoyable no matter what’s the daily task. There have been days of meetings, research, reading, survey development, observational studies, administering surveys, survey analysis, reports, decorating rooms, fixing exhibits, helping visitors, and a bunch of other random activities that I’ve worked on to keep myself entertained. There never is a dull moment, for there is always more work to be done.
Some the work might seem strange, but I never question these assignments. The most exciting of these tasks would be “Adventures with Acro.” Acro is short for Acrocanthosaurus, which is the near-complete dinosaur skeleton housed on the third floor of the Museum. To help promote some of the current online evaluations, I photographed the model version of Acro touring the Museum, which was used for various “live tweets” encouraging people to take our survey. The adventures did not stop there; Acro now travels with me all over the East Coast to help promote the Museum in different places.
While touring with Acro was my favorite summer task, it is shadowed by the love I have for my favorite part of the massive Museum. This would be the Museum’s very own two-toed sloth, and given that he did not have a name, I took the responsibility of naming him Bernard. Many lunch breaks I would disappear from my post to watch the cute little guy sleep or climb his tree to eat food. The work day was never complete without stopping in to say hello to my favorite creature, which in turn made every day that much better.
The overall experience has been indescribable; I’ve never enjoyed working as much as I have this summer. I am one of the few who likes to come to work every day and misses it on days I have off. It is a truly magnificent place, and I’m so happy to have been given this opportunity to work here.