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    Moving Pictures From A Moving Story

    | Washington, DC, USA | History, Spouses & Partners, Top, Tourists/Travel

    (I am visiting the Holocaust Museum. I am in a room full of framed pictures and digital displays, with picture slideshows of the war crime trials. There are some teenagers sitting around playing on their phones. An old couple are looking at the slideshows.)

    Old Woman: “How do you get the pictures to stop moving?”

    (She tries touching the screen.)

    Old Man: “Here, let me try.”

    (They both assume it is a touch-screen, and are pressing hard against it.The teenagers see this, and start laughing to each other.)

    Teenager: “Look at these senile old people!”

    (They begin filming the old couple, who are still trying to get the slideshow to stop. A tour guide has heard the noise, and comes over to see what is wrong.)

    Guide: “Can I help you?”

    Old Woman: “Yes, what button do we need to press to get the picture to stop?”

    Guide: “You can’t stop them; it’s a looping slideshow. I think it’s only for two minutes, so you can just wait for it to repeat.”

    Old Woman: “But those pictures change so fast!”

    Guide: “Is there a reason you need to see all these pictures?”

    Old Man: “Yes, I’m looking for the pictures of the bench.”

    Guide: “Oh, well there are several photos just over here from the trials. Here’s one.”

    (He directs them to the opposite wall to several pictures hidden among a few dozen others.)

    Old Woman: “There you are!”

    (She grows very excited, and points to the picture as though she had spotted something she had been looking for.)

    Old Man: “Yep, got my American Flag pin on.”

    (The old man reaches into his coat pocket, and shows the tour guide the pin. The teenagers have shut up by this point, and stopped filming. The tour guide then leads the old couple around the corner to show them more pictures of the trials. I walk up afterwards, and look at the picture. Seated at the bench were the Nazi war criminals that had caused so much death and destruction. Behind them are a line of American soldier guards. While most of the men have no medals or pins on, I spot the one soldier wearing an American flag pin over his heart. Don’t judge a book by its cover. That same man who had difficulty with a foreign device was entrusted to stand watch over some of the worst men of the twentieth century.)

    The History Of Photography Doesn’t Quite Click

    | PA, USA | Family & Kids, History, School

    (I have a paid internship at a small, obscure history museum and battlefield. This site is so unknown that most locals don’t even know what war was fought here. A visitor comes in with her bored-looking teenage daughter.)

    Visitor: “Hi! My daughter’s history teacher gave her an assignment to come to a local historical site, and we thought we’d come here!”

    Me: “Great! It’ll be $5 a piece.”

    Visitor: “So, this is a Civil War battlefield, right?”

    Me: “Actually this battlefield was a part of Pontiac’s Rebellion, a Native American uprising that occurred in 1763, after the French and Indian War. If you follow me, I’ll take you back to our 13-minute video about the battle, and Pontiac’s Rebellion. It’s a great synopsis of the history surrounding the museum.”

    Visitor: “Wonderful!”

    (Our theater area is located at the very back of the exhibit, in an area that has blown-up photos of our annual battle re-enactments. I turn the video on.)

    Me: “I will be happy to answer any questions at the end of the video.”

    (At the end of the video, the visitor starts pointing at the re-enactment photos on the walls.)

    Visitor: “So, these photos are from the actual battle?”

    (The visitor’s daughter starts laughing.)

    Me: “These are actually from our annual battle re-enactment held every summer.”

    Visitor: “Where are the photos from the battle?”

    Me: “Photography would not be invented for about another 80 years or so. Actually the first American war with any photographs was the American Civil War.”

    Visitor: “Oh. When was the Civil War?”

    Me: “1861-1865.”

    Visitor: “When was this [battlefield's] war?”

    Me: “1763.”

    Visitor: “So, what war was this?”

    Me: “The French and Indian War.”

    Visitor: “So, how long was this war before the Civil War?”

    Me: *facepalm*

    Tall Tail Tales

    | BC, Canada | Pets & Animals

    (I am working in the lobby of a large museum. We have a whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling. On a different floor, there is a limited time exhibit on dinosaurs.)

    Woman: *points to large hanging skeleton* “Excuse me, what kind of animal is that?”

    Me: “That’s a whale. It’s one of our prize—”

    Woman: “That can’t be a whale! It has a tail!”

    Me: “Um, I can assure you it’s a whale. Whales have tails.”

    Woman: “Oh, I see. It’s like one of those weird prehistoric shark things?”

    Me: “Well, actually this is an average modern-day whale—”

    Woman: “But this is the dinosaur museum! And it’s got a tail!”

    Me: “Actually, the dinosaur exhibit’s right upstairs.”

    Woman: “Great! Maybe someone up there will be able to tell me what this is.”

    Me: “It’s a whale.”

    Woman: “It has a tail!”

    The Only Thing He’s Paying For Is Lip Service

    | Tampa, FL, USA |

    (Note: I’m an unpaid museum volunteer with a vest that obviously says volunteer. A well-dressed patron approaches me.)

    Me: “Hello, sir, how are you?”

    Patron: “I need to speak to the President, please.”

    Me: “Are you talking about the Vice Presidents or just the President?”

    Patron: “You know d*** well who I’m talking about, now get me to him! I’m the one who controls YOUR paycheck!”

    Me: “I’m a volunteer, sir.”

    Patron: “Oh…” *walks away*

    Mother’s Little Yeller

    | Massachusetts, USA | Awesome Customers, Family & Kids, Top

    Me: “A few quick rules before we begin our tour: we don’t allow photography inside the museum and, as everything inside is antique, please try not to touch anything.”

    (At this point, I like to make a side note to any kids in the group to make them feel important. I turn to one of the visitor’s daughters at the front, who is about six years old.)

    Me: “Now, everyone always assumes that I’m talking to you when I go over these rules, but really, I know that you know how to behave. The grownups, on the other hand, think they can do anything because they’re grownups. So you keep an eye on your parents for me, okay?”

    (The visitor’s daughter grins and nods. Sure enough, a few minutes later…)

    Me: “The bed curtains on the bed in here were handmade by a local woman out of homespun linen. She did all the work herself and it took her nearly ten years to—”

    Visitor: “Wow, this is amazing!”

    (The visitor grabs the 250-year-old fabric and starts rubbing it between her fingers.)

    Visitor’s Daughter: *immediately smacks the visitor’s hand away* “Mummy you stop that! You heard what the nice lady said! Grownups have to follow the rules, too!”

    Visitor: *hangs head in shame*

    Other Visitor: “Oh my God, it worked!”

    (The visitor’s daughter gave me a high five on the way out!)

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