Museum Employees Describe The Coolest Things They've Ever Seen At Work
A museum can be a pathway to new learning, with their well curated exhibits and artifacts from around the globe spanning decades or millennia of knowledge. A visit to one can be a life-changing experience.
That's all fine and good, but what about the cool stuff? The stuff the public isn't allowed to see? The things you only dreamed about discovering when you were a child.
Let's hear about that!
Reddit user, jonnycigarettes, wanted to hear what goes on behind closed doors when they asked:
"Museum Workers - What is the Coolest Thing You've Seen That is not Public?"
A museum's job is to catalog and record the past while influencing those within the present. It must be hard not to get caught up in the tales of the past.
Who Wouldn't Start Mixing Stuff Together?
"Worked in a science museum. It's not exactly not public, but when the museum was closed or on slow days we used to test out ideas we found on the internet for science activities. Anything from liquid nitrogen hurricanes to green and purple fireballs - if we had the ingredients, we could try it."
You Never Know What's Going To Pop Up On The Itinerary
"In my own university archive & cultural collections I filed away human teeth one day and local church financial records the next. Archive work is wild."
Sounds Like It Comes From A Ripley's Museum
"Taxidermied heads of a two headed calf (died shortly after birth). They are mounted just like you typically see deer head trophies."
"so you have a brahmin calf head mounted on the wall?"
"Well, the museum has it! I think it's a brown and white Holstein."
I'm Not Sure What I Expected...
"My wife is an art curator. In her younger life, she was working at a museum and vame across a box that said, "mummy head".
"Guess what was in there? A mummy head, as advertised."
"My favorite experience from visiting her at work (besides meeting Cheech Marin... seriously, dude! He borrowed my guitar!) was blowing as much time as I wanted looking at a Warhol print from 1966. It was mind blowing to see all that effort to make something seem shallow and simple."
"By the way, prints are awesome. You can buy art for less than the cost of furniture, directly from the artist. You are putting beer in one's mug, gas in the van, alimony in the envelope."
Too Much Of A Good Thing
"I used to live in Melbourne, Florida. There's a small building there that for some reason was built to house a replica of the Liberty Bell. For whatever reason, the museum evolved into housing all manner of patriotic memorabilia, mostly military in nature, but there's the occasional diorama. Retirees or widows would donate uniforms and other military gear to the place. Unfortunately this meant over time a huge quantity of this stuff was just crammed into this tiny museum they call Honor America."
Even when the stuff is categorized under "Awesome," it doesn't mean they hold no educational value.
Pew, Pew, Pew
"I interned at the US navy museum for a few months, primarily in the armoury"
"There is a long list of awesome stuff, but the best was all the Vietnam era SEAL weapons. China lake grenade launcher (002), prototype .50 rifles, modified shotguns, suppressed m16e1’s....."
"And that’s before the really spooky stuff like a g3 lacking all external markings and a soviet SVD donated by the state department in the late 60’s..."
Hospitality, Ghosts, and Samurai Armor
"I worked at the Biltmore House for a few years. My favorite things were the two sets of samurai armor. Between that, some of the wall hanging, a few books and the katanas I always thought Vanderbilt was a bit of a Japanophile. Plus the rooms in the sub basement with the bared gates, that was fun to go check."
Images That Stay With You
"I once had to help mop out the vault that stored the excavated remains from a Fort Ancient site where I volunteered as a teen. We got to see what was removed from the graves. It was a pretty intense and somber day."
"One castle type museum I did my work experience in I was taken in a room just full of guns."
"I am a lot older and work in a museum again now so I know how things are stored carefully, in controlled conditions, but these guns were just piled about. There were ton of musket looking guns but two that stood out was something that looked like a revolver but with a barrel like a canon, and a musket that was much bigger barrel and eleven of my feet long."
"It was in the early nineties so I'm sure they've tidied up a bit now, but so so many guns."
There really is no other job like it, is there?
Read, Read, Read
"I've worked at multiple museums and Archives/Special Collections sections of libraries (in various capacities). Some of the highlights:"
- "The full collection first editions of Mildred Benson's Nancy Drew hardbacks from the 1930s"
- "the autographed Arthur Rackham-illustrated copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales that we had sitting on our shelves in the Archives of my university, owned by his aunt-by-marriage and donated to us"
- "The Virginia Museum of Transportation had so many cool railroad bits and bobs floating around in storage, especially while they were working on the restoration of the 611 steam engine."
- "a Lewis and Clark original map of the Pacific Northwest, kept in the Library of Congress archives because it's too fragile to display"
"Edit: another one that I just remembered:"
- "the beautiful illuminated manuscripts and Book of Days from the Middle Ages that my university had sitting around in Special Collections. We occasionally wheeled them out for the Medieval Lit undergrads, but other than that they were generally locked up"
Walking In The Steps Of Giants
"I volunteer at an air museum. We had just got a Huey helicopter to restore and it was in the maintenance hangar. Some Vietnam vets that flew a Huey found out that we got one in. We let them into the maintenance hangar to check it out and while they were looking at it they discovered it was the Huey that they flew in Vietnam. They had no idea that it had survived."
"I was just hanging out and got to witness the whole thing."
Desk Is Next To A WHAT?
"Hmmmmm. Where to even start? Fun fact - most museums only have about 0.1-10% of their collections on display at any given time."
"My desk used to be right next to an atomic bomb."
"A couple of times, I was in Charles Lindbergh's pants. Also Neil Armstrong's boots. Also saw Buzz Aldrin's underpants."
"I got to hold a pair of Roald Amundsen's skis."
"SPACE SUIT STORAGE. It's like a morgue but better. Fun story - one of the best ways to transport space suits is in coffin boxes. Always tripping over coffin boxes everywhere on shipping days."
"A drum hand-collected by Margaret Mead that's one of three like it left in the world (iirc)."
"Victorian hair art. So disturbing we didn't have any on display at that museum. As one classmate said, "that's not art, that's the shower drain!".
"Airplanes made out of plywood."
"An actual military medal that was a hand flipping the bird - Order of the Rigid Digit. Still my favorite use of taxpayer dollars to this day."
"Napoleon's handwritten notes for his autobiography. There was also a collection of prints with his face that made excellent memes among my friends."
"James Doolittle's pilot license signed by Orville Wright."
"Lindbergh's prize check for crossing the Atlantic."
"135 laxatives previously belonging to Charles Lindbergh. Fun story - Jane Addams used the same kind of laxatives."
"Used tissues. Used bandaids. Random trash. Unidentifiable fragments of wood. A board that was supposed to call cats to it or some weird hocus pocus like that. All things we had to take very seriously and treat with the same care we did everything else because some dumdum decided to accession everything."
"A very wide range of baccula, aka penis bones."
"Dinosaur storage, need I say more?"
"The super secret Egyptian temple buried in the bowels of the Field Museum."
"Teddy Roosevelt's samurai outfit, gifted to him at a state dinner by the Japanese ambassador. He then drunkenly put it on and ran around the White House in it, iirc."
"A second atomic bomb."
"Ugh, best job ever. I make myself jealous sometimes. Even when I had to alphabetize and chronologize 653 barf bags."
Anyone feeling like switching career choices? All of this sounds way more fun than anything we're doing today.
It's amazing to think how, as times change, so do the quality of products.
But this also includes items that were once considered commonplace that are now seen as vintage or even luxury.
For those who were around at the time when an item was first introduced, it can be surprising to see how the availability of that item changes over time, and even frustrating when it becomes increasingly expensive.
Redditor zombiem00se asked:
"What was normal 20 or 30 years ago, but is considered a luxury now?"
"New furniture made out of real wood."
"It's legit why I started woodworking. Even my s**tty projects that I'm unhappy with are infinitely better than the junk in stores."
"I hate that everything is a subscription now. I miss being able to just straight up buy Microsoft Office. Now you need a subscription."
"There's a hidden way to buy a license, but it has very basic functionality and limited apps, so it's kinda useless."
"Even my printer needs a d**n subscription to use the ink that came with it (which I hadn't realized or I wouldn't have bought it)."
"The days of paying no more than 30% of your income in rent."
"I lived in poverty housing and this was how they determined our rent. It was 30% of mom's income, regardless of how much she was making."
"That was 20 years ago, not sure what starving kids do today."
"Not being expected to be reachable 24/7."
"Yes, f**k this. I hate being bothered about work when I'm off work. I used to have a boss that expected me to answer when I wasn't at work so he would b***h and moan about it. Then I became known as the one who never answers."
"Concert Ticket prices."
"Sure does seem like ticket prices went from $50 to $200 really f**king fast."
"Household products that didn't break within the first few years of use. My grandma had the same fridge from 1993 for a good while before deciding to switch to a newer, bigger option two years ago. Yes, it broke within those two years. My mom's wedding cookware is still going strong 25 years later, but whenever she needs new pans, they start flaking Teflon into the food within a few months."
"Retirement plan built-in to your job."
"Or just retiring in general, lol (laughing out loud)."
"Farmer's markets. You used to be able to go down and get fruit and vegetables cheaper than the grocery store. Now it seems like they charge three times more than stores do."
"Being able to get things repaired instead of buying new."
Right to Privacy
"Privacy used to be implicit. It was just there. You didn't have to think about it."
"Now it's explicit. You have to seek it out and take steps to ensure it remains in force."
The Good Ole Days
"Being left the f**k alone."
"Buying something and just like, owning it."
"Playing a video game without an internet connection."
"Not having to provide your email address for every single f**king thing you do."
"I still miss the days of just putting a game in, turning it on and you go right into playing it. The game alone was the sole focus and purpose of the console. The GameCube is the last system I remember playing that had this."
Bins of Photo Albums Under the Bed
"Photographs on actual photographic paper. I know it's still possible but oh so rare."
"Good quality fabric in clothing. I have clothes from the 90s (and 80s from my mother) that still hold up today. These days, I'm lucky if my shirt isn't saggy and misshapen within a year."
FriYay and TGIF
"Being able to go out every Friday after work and being able to afford it."
We're always moving forward and looking forward to future advancements, but sometimes, it's nice to look back on where we've been and what we miss about the old days. Sometimes, it may even be a little sad to think of what's not available anymore, but at least we got to experience it.
Dating can be pretty fun, but like anything else, there are going to be some bad or weird dates.
But sometimes the person we think we're really into will do something so repulsive, we know instantly that relationship is over.
Redditor th3dankmemer asked:
"Redditors, have you ever gotten the 'ick' from a potential partner or love interest that instantly killed your attraction to them?"
"If so, what happened?"
Uninterested in Them
"We were talking about our interests, and after I listened to him blab about his ''lawn-scaping business,' I went to talk about my interests. He interrupted me to say, 'Wow, you really have nothing interesting to say, do you?'"
"I went out with a guy who would not stop grilling me, and I couldn't get him to actually answer any questions about himself."
"I finally just said, 'Look, it's cool that you're so interested in getting to know me, but I'd like to hear about you too. What do you do in your free time?'"
"He sat there and stared for a bit then started listing off TV shows, asking if I'd seen them."
"I had not."
"Finally, he got to 'The Wire,' which I'd seen a few episodes of, and because that was the only one I had any experience with, apparently that meant I needed a 20-minute monologue about what the show was about. I literally checked the clock when he started, and it was a full 20 minutes."
"When he finally petered out, we just sat in silence for a second before he stood up, shook my hand, and left without another word."
No Personal Space
"He grabbed me by the face on the first date, 'stroked' under my eyes, and said, 'You need to take better care of yourself.'"
"Sir, I’m a divorced 37-year-old woman with kids, and those under-eye circles were passed down from my grandmother. They’re family heirlooms."
"And get your hands off my face. We just met, and this is not a Nicholas Sparks movie."
"Literally every single problem she had was someone else’s fault. Even when there was proof it was her fault, she would argue nonstop that it was someone else’s."
"She got in a car wreck and called insurance over and over again to tell them that it was the other person’s fault. They checked the computer in her car because it saved the speed she was going right before the wreck. It told them everything they needed to know, and she STILL denied it."
"He bullied someone in front of me. Instant disgust."
Absolute Nose Blindness
"I had a guy once whose car smelled so bad, I had to try not to throw up while sticking my head out the window."
"He couldn't smell it. I thought I was going to die."
"It turns out he forgot about a double cheeseburger in the back of his car for over two weeks in the hot sun."
"I don't know what bothered me more. The smell or the fact that it didn't bother him."
Mom the Third Wheel
"I found out the reason he rented the house next door to his parents was so his mom would make his meals, wash his clothes, etc. He had the audacity to say, 'Let me call my mom,' when I mentioned I was a little hungry."
"She was a big enabler, and she was part of the reason I ended the relationship. I don’t need to be coached on 'how to please her baby boy.'"
The Two-Faced Partner
"She was 'best friends' with another girl who she constantly spoke s**t about when said friend wasn't around."
"Ooh, I had an ex who did that."
"She got SUPER MAD at her 'best friend' for wanting to go out for sushi a week before her birthday when she wanted sushi! It was totally on purpose just to steal her idea of getting sushi. Because you obviously couldn't go out and get sushi two weekends in a row."
"A couple of weeks later, they were best friends again. A couple of weeks after that, I got ghosted and realized I was better off."
"In college, I was seeing a girl who lived in a student residence with me but on another floor. She would always talk about how another guy, Tom, on her floor was obsessed with her and would show me texts between them. She said she only talked to him because he’s harmless and that they’re friends. I never met him."
"After a week, her ex-friend from high school pulled me aside and told me not to trust her. She said that the girl I was seeing is a notorious liar and that Tom doesn’t exist. That she added her own number in her phone as 'Tom,' would text herself, and then delete the sent messages."
"The only reason her ex-friend knew is that she saw the text message exchange happen in the reflection of a mirror when they were in the same room."
"I was close with the front desk and asked if they could look up the names from that floor. They said yes, and told me that there was no guy named Tom on her floor. I noped out of that real quick."
"My brief girlfriend bought me some hair care products before she came over because it was right by her house. In return, I said I would go grocery shopping and make her a nice dinner. I thought this to be an even exchange."
"That night I found her looking through my trash for the receipt for the groceries to make sure that the 30 dollars she spent on me was equal to the amount I spent on her dinner."
"Just to clarity, I saw her parents do this to her. It was her upbringing. She did this in every aspect of her life which gave me the ick but she did not have very good role models."
"I dated a guy who seemed chill but kept talking about social media and how people and his exes were scheming against him."
"I believed him at first until it got to a point where he thought things like a photo someone put up was an indicator that they were ‘getting him back’ when these people were literally just doing normal things and posting normal stuff."
"I think he was schizophrenic, but it was really unsettling. Months later, he rang me out of the blue to ask me about a link between his ex, myself, and a friend. The link was butterflies, and because of this link, he thought we were conspiring against him."
"He kept making assumptions about me on the first date, like 'I suppose someone like you...' or, 'A girl like you wouldn't understand...'"
"I am literally right here, ask me. Don't tell me what my life is or is like."
"Anyway, eventually I got up and left. They messaged me and asked what my problem was, so I wrote back something to the effect of, 'A boy like you wouldn't understand even if I told you.'"
"I realized he was faking seizures our entire relationship to get out of helping me do chores or cook meals."
"We dated for less than a year. I found out from his friends and family he never had a seizure in front of them."
"I came home one night after working a double, and I asked him to please try to make dinner."
"The next night, I found him asleep and woke him up to let him know I was home and where was dinner?"
"He said he had a seizure. This caused an argument where he admitted he faked it. He said his seizures were caused by flashing lights."
"I took him to countless doctors and no one could replicate what I saw all the time. After he admitted it, it finally clicked. He’d been faking it the whole time."
Weirder and Weirder
"I went on a date with a guy I met at a party. He made me prove that I liked 'Lord of the Rings' by answering who said what when he quoted someone."
"He pulled out a notebook of really poorly drawn anime characters and asked me if he could draw me."
"He was a lot shorter than me and asked if it bothered me. I said no, then he said, 'Good, I like Amazonian goddesses.'"
"He kept trying to put his jewelry onto me despite my protests. He asked what I wanted to order for food, and then ignored me and ordered me something else and got frustrated I didn't eat it all."
"He referenced being arrested, made me guess what for, and when I refused to guess for not knowing him well enough, he said GBH (Grievous Bodily Harm)."
"He was a trainee doctor and asked if I'd ever broken any bones. When I replied yes, he said that he was going to look up my X-rays."
"And the icing on the cake... When I wanted to leave, he got my knee-high boots, slipped them onto my feet, zipped them up, and said, 'You should always be treated like a goddess... My Morticia Addams.'"
"ALL ONE DATE."
Saving Marriages One Story at a Time
"This thread is saving my marriage."
"My parents love to say that after going out in public, there’s no one else they’d rather go home with."
We've all met some unusual people in our lives, but it's especially strange when we're dating them and make unexpected discoveries about them.
At least a relationship doesn't have to last forever unless it's meant to.
This November, Puerto Ricans can vote on one of three options–including becoming the 51st state in the U.S.
The U.S. House of Representatives introduced the Puerto Rico Status Act last December.
The bill would grant the island commonwealth either U.S. statehood, independence, or independence while retaining some U.S. affiliations.
"Americans, how do you feel about Puerto Rico possibly becoming the 51st state?"
People weighed in with their thoughts.
From A Resident's Perspective
"I'm Puerto Rican and I can tell you that support for statehood and the commonwealth is almost evenly split. Practically nobody supports independence."
"This is not a good deal for most Puerto Ricans. They also don't get the same benefits that citizens in states are entitled to despite paying federal payroll taxes for some of these benefits, like Social Security and Medicaid."
"The territory has a median household income of $21,000, so over half of households would not be required to file federal taxes anyway. Of those that would be required to file, the vast majority will be paying less than 15% of income, less with deductions. This is a pretty awful tradeoff for the (again, largely poor) residents to be ineligible for SSI and the territory receiving only a fraction of the Medicaid funding that it would as a state."
"If Puerto Rico becomes a state, it will get more congressmen and thus more influence to negotiate more subsidies from the federal government, as well as repeal some of the extractive policies the US imposes on Puerto Rico. These benefits will likely outweigh the increase in taxes."
Contrary To Popular Belief
"It’s so funny because I see mainland Puerto Ricans who are like 'independence is the only thing we want' and it’s like, you aren’t living there, why are you choosing for your people. I’m not Puerto Rican but I see this and get confused, especially because I see people in PR who don’t want independence."
How The Government Might Handle Things
"The way a Puerto Rican friend in PR has explained it to me: it’s not so much that people don’t want independence, it’s that they know their government won’t handle it well and they’ll crumble the second they get it. Obviously that’s just one Puerto Rican and he doesn’t speak for all. I just hope that they are the ones who get to choose in the end and the result is one that ends up working for everyone."
"Considering the political class we would inherit, the terrible geography, being in the direct path of so many hurricanes, losing access to a $26t economy and billions in annual stimulus, I’d say it’s a very risky bet."
"And our closest analogs are Cuba, Dominican Republic and Haiti. DR is fine, but a clear downgrade in prosperity. And Cuba/Haiti are collapsing. Puerto Ricans can see this which is why only 5% of the state legislature is pro-independence."
"I know many Puerto Ricans in Virginia or in metro Orlando making six figures and buying two-story houses. By all accounts Puerto Ricans who move to the mainland do incredibly well."
"So why would you give that access away when the alternative is Cuba or Haiti (at worst) or DR at best (which is stable, but still far poorer than Puerto Rico). The next time Hurricane Maria hits, who is going to cut us a $15 billion check? Independence is simply impractical."
People were talking numbers.
Making It Count
"My only objection is that 50 is a nice round number. Merge the Dakotas and I'm in."
The Perfect Number
"All I ask is that we find two other states to add as well. Make it 53."
"Truly a nation indivisible."
Keeping It 50
"We should stick with 50 states. And since Puerto Rico has more people than several states, we should make it a state and combine the 2 Dakota's into one state."
Some people were indifferent.
Supporting Their Decision
"As far as I can tell PR citizens are still split inside their nation about joining the union. I kinda feel like they should be on the same page first. That said, I would support them if it was a question of my support."
A Strange Situation
"Anyone born in Puerto Rico after 1952 is an American citizen. They are already technically in the union but, due to slightly more complicated reasons do not have equal representation in Congress. They aren’t a protectorate and are technically classified as a territory of the US. It’s a very strange situation to me"
"I have no strong feelings one way or the other."
Two hundred and thirty-three members of the US House of Representatives voted for statehood while 191 were opposed.
The bill providing Puerto Ricans a binding referendum awaits passage in the Senate–where at least 60 "yes" votes are required from the 100-member chamber.
A similar referendum procedure occurred in the 1950s when Hawaiians and Alaskans voted for or against U.S. statehood.
People Debate Mandatory Retirement At 75 For Congress And The Supreme Court
When Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away in the fall of 2020, the United States panicked.
Namely, democrats and liberals were terrified by the prospect of another conservative judge on the United States Supreme Court, which already had a two-seat majority.
Then of course, there was the ongoing debate as to whether or not then-sitting president Donald Trump was entitled to pick another Supreme Court judge, as the 2020 presidential election was only weeks away.
Barack Obama was famously banned from appointing Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court owing to the fact that it was an election year, even though President Obama still had eight months left in his presidency.
Of course, RBG's death at age 87 also brought to the forefront an ongoing debate about whether there should be age limits for Supreme Court Justices.
"Would you support a mandatory retirement age of 75 for US House, US Senate & US Supreme Court Justices and if not why?"
If There Are Minimums, There Should Be Maximums
"We have age minimums."
"We need maximum age limits these people are making decisions for a future they won't be involved in."- mattjf22
Age Doesn't Always Equal Wisdom...
"I am 82 years old."
"Personally, I feel that anyone my age who still gets off on power needs to be kept away from normal people."
"But to the point of this post, the world has been run by old people since the beginning of our species, and just look at the place!"
"Yes, if you were intelligent to begin with your wisdom and common sense will increase with age, but so will your cynicism."
"If you were a young jacka**, you will become an old jacka** — and a hide-bound prejudiced old jackass at that."
"Give them a nice pension at 70, with the condition that if they mess with politics or government again they lose the pension."- SemichiSam
Would Have Greatly Affected The Last Two Elections
"70 and as for president no one can run over 65."
"FFS get with the program folks just retire."- Upstairs-Bid6513
Age Limits Are Only The Beginning
"Age requirement of 65, 2 term limit, Congress people serve 4 year instead of 2 year terms, and no campaigning more than 60 days before the election."- Deedoodleday
Term Limits First
"I feel like if we were to attach an age to it, it should be the age of retirement, but I feel like it would be more important to have term limits."
"Limits would fix almost all the same issues and address more, without arbitrarily deciding someone is too old to serve the state."- Askmyrkr
"Term limit is the way to go."- bob2235
Not Where Our Concerns Should Be...
"No, the problem isn't age, it's our election system."
"Politicians get old in office because it's so f*cking hard to vote them out!"
"End legal bribery, end FPTP, and we'll see a much healthier turnover in our political processes."- FountainsOfFluids
What Matters Is Their Qualifications And Abilities
"I'll be the contrarian."
"If you're good, you're good, regardless of age."
"I'll take a 75-year-old who is smarter, savvier, and better representative of my values than a 35-year-old."
"If you don't like them because they're senile, don't vote for them, that's all."
"Honestly, I feel the same about lower-age limits that aren't just the age of majority."- walkerintheworld
75 Is still Too Old...
"I would go even younger at 70."
"Sure that may mean we would lose Bernie, we would also be ditching McConnell, Pelosi, and the other fossils in office who refuse to address the problems we face."- Daryno90
"Would rather see mandatory voting like Australia."- szthesquid
Wouldn't Change Anything
"Making politicians retire at some arbitrary age would not address the underlying problems our system has."- giope_1995
"What problem are you trying to solve by doing this?"
"Apparently, people want to be represented by ancient dinosaurs."- SideShow117
Defeats The Point Of Democracy
"No, absolutely not."
"Nor should there be a minimum age (apart from 18)."
"The point of a representative democracy is that the people vote for whom they want."
"Putting restrictions on who can run serves no purpose other than invalidating the votes of people you disagree with."
"It's not up to you or me to decide who is 'valid' as a candidate."
"That's the entire point of democracy."
"And to those of you that are convinced that if all the old people were just gone, then everyone would agree with you, you're ironically the exact kind of uninformed voter that you claim to be trying to prevent."- scottevil110
"No, because if there was a 76-year-old candidate I liked I would want the freedom to vote for them."
"Supporting things like this is so short-sighted."- tedesco455
In the heat of the moment, it's easy to make rash decisions about government and democracy.
Frustrating though it may be, it's important to remember progress is a slow, steady stream and doesn't come easily.
Also worth remembering, there are indeed two sides to most arguments, and far more can be resolved in a discussion than in an attack.