Here’s the story:
My life, so far, has been pretty weird.
The first time I found myself in the University of Montana’s zoological research collection with a scalpel in one hand and a dead mouse in the other I thought, “Y’know, I bet there are people out there who are pretty interested in learning about the work that happens behind closed doors in natural history museums.”
Because, sure, natural history museum work is often weird. Even better, though, is that it’s complex and fascinating. It’s challenging and multifaceted. And, it’s vital to furthering our knowledge and understanding of what is happening to our planet today.
So, I started to tell people about museum work: I pulled fellow students into the collection during passing periods. I reached out to the school’s newspaper. I requested a meeting with the university president. I kept a beaver skull on the shelf below my cash register at work and pulled it out when I’d ask a customer, “Wanna see somethin’ cool?!,” no matter what their response was.
Eventually, I started posting photos from my days volunteering in the museum to Facebook. But my friends and family all thought it was kinda strange, so instead I created a blog for enthusiastic strangers. I started to get attention. And in an age where people’s attention is both in short supply and in high demand, I started to take my responsibility seriously.
Today, I have the privilege of representing one of the world’s largest natural history museums and sharing its research and collections work with an international audience. I am still committed to celebrating the weird and critically important work of these institutions, big or small.
This work has been a joy, and my life’s delight so far — but there’s much more ahead of us.
I feel a great sense of responsibility to use the attention I’ve garnered to not only share wonderful stories about nature, but to help inspire the sense that we can all be agents for positive change. I aim to cultivate and empower an inclusive, curious, and engaged public following that experiences this shared sense of responsibility to mobilize, and to help better our world.
Thank you for taking an interest in my story.
Chief Curiosity Correspondent
Field Museum, Chicago