Staring at the Floors

August 5, 2011 at 4:57 pm Leave a comment

As education interns at the Museum, Reid and I have many jobs.  Our main job is to train the FUN (Fernbank Ultimate Naturalist) volunteers on “carts.” These carts contain items that are used to provide additional education for the Museum visitors. We have three carts that the FUN volunteers manage: fossils, shells and archaeology, but the fossil cart is by far my favorite.

The fossil cart is designed to allow the visitors hands-on experiences with models of the fossils found in our tiled floors, and to allow for hands-on experiences with some models of dinosaur teeth and eggs—which go with our dino skeletons. Its purpose is to get people looking up at the ceiling and down at the floor. I enjoy it so much that sometimes I get overzealous and jump in when I should let the volunteers do the talking…Whoops. The expressions on young visitors’ faces when I tell them that the tiled floors have real, yes, real, fossils are priceless. Their eyes get big, their mouths open, and they immediately stop looking at me and start looking at the very floor on which we’re standing. It’s hard to believe what they are seeing is real, but I’m always happy to report that the fossils indeed are real, and no, we did not create these tiles on our own. I am as amazed as they are, even after working here for most of the summer!

I know it sounds silly, to say that staring at the floor has suddenly become socially acceptable, but really, if you were standing on 150 million-year-old German sea floor, wouldn’t you be looking down too? In fact, the tiles aren’t the only thing I would encourage looking down for; my favorite thing in Fernbank NatureQuest is on the floor too. If you look carefully throughout the exhibit, you’ll find a surprise: the floor has animal tracks all over! Even as a Museum intern, I enjoy tracking the animals as if they were real.

So no, it isn’t silly to walk around with your head down, staring intently at the floors, because, let’s face it, the floors are worth it.

—By Annaliese Ashley FUN Summer Intern


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At Fernbank Museum, there’s much more than dinosaurs and giant-screen films. Even with our website, e-newsletters, Facebook pages and Twitter updates, there’s still a lot we’d like to share with you. This blog is an opportunity for the people that keep Fernbank running and constantly expanding, to share stories from their point of view. We hope you’ll enjoy these first-hand, behind-the-scenes glimpses of what goes into keeping a world-class natural history museum running. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback on these stories, to hear your personal experiences and hear any suggestions for topics. Happy reading!

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