• Understood The Concept Swimmingly
    (1,572 thumbs up)
  • November Theme Of The Month: Black Friday!

    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 | Uncategorized

    (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!)

    This Apple Fell Far From Its Tree, Part 2

    | Boston, MA, USA | Extra Stupid, Family & Kids

    (I work at a museum catering to children. A man and his son are examining our electronic magnifier, which has clear instructions in large type right next to it.)

    Dad: *yanking and knocking on machine* “How does this stupid thing work?!”

    Son: “Well, did you read the directions?”

    Dad: “What directions?!”

    Son: “The words under that big sign that says ‘Directions’.”

    This Apple Fell Far From Its Tree