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Screened For Bad Language

| Edinburgh, Scotland, UK | Language & Words, Popular, Technology

(I’m the bad guy here. This happens in a science museum in Edinburgh that’s quite interactive and popular for young children, which I visit with my fiancée. We approach a large screen with an animated palaeontologist character standing idly. I look up and see a small sensor above the screen, and a marked floor area, and realise it’s an interactive display. It’s the middle of the week and we are the only ones in the exhibit.)

Display: “Hi there, are you having fun today?”

Me: “F*** off, witch.”

(I turn to walk on.)

Display: “Well, that was unexpected.”

(We stop and look back.)

Me: “What?”

Display: “I’ve never had anyone swear at me before!”

(Actually panicking now.)

Me: “Wait, you’re REAL?”

Display: “Yep, and quite surprised!”

(Turned out there was a staff member assigned to the screen and the sensor was a camera. She was quite forgiving and informative, but it was quite funny watching as people behind us ignored the screen and she started throwing sarcastic comments out to try and get their attention!)

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Barking Mad

| VA, USA | Bizarre

(I work in the back offices of a museum. While this area is technically not off limits to the public, I seldom see anyone other than coworkers because this section of the building only contains offices and classrooms. A jingling sound comes from hallway, followed by “yip! yip!”)

Me: *to myself* “What on earth was that?”

(An elderly woman carrying a small dog on a leash suddenly peers into my office.)

Woman: “Where can I mail this?”

Me: *staring at shock at the dog inside a museum* “I’m sorry, what?”

Woman: “This. Where can I mail this?” *waves a stamped envelope at me*

Me: “Um, at a post office?”

Woman: “Where’s that?”

Me: *still eyeing the dog* “Outside somewhere? This is an art museum.”

(With a “Humph!” the woman put the dog down and walked indignantly away. I still have no idea how she got that dog in there or why she thought she could mail a letter!)

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Vegan La Revolution!

| MA, USA | Bizarre, Pets & Animals

(I’ve worked at several museums relating to the Revolutionary War, so I’m used to people coming in wanting me to affirm their various political agendas about firearms. This threw me for a loop though, as I was cornered in a completely unrelated exhibit about nature and philosophy.)

Patron: “Hey, can I ask you a question?”

Me: “Of course.”

Patron: “What exactly is transcendentalism?”

(This is a pretty common question, and I do my best to explain it for him.)

Patron: “Oh, okay… So, like, are YOU a transcendentalist?”

Me: *laughs* “Well, to be honest, a lot of their talk goes over my head. But I guess I’m a bit of a tree-hugger like Henry Thoreau.”

Patron: “Tree-hugger? What’s that supposed to mean?”

Me: *a bit taken aback* “Oh, you know, just that I’m inspired by nature. Not that I chain myself to trees or anything.”

Patron: “Oh good, I thought that meant you were a vegan or something. I’m a hunter.”

Me: “I’m not vegan; that’s fine.”

Patron: “But I make sure to use every part of the animal.”

Me: “That’s good. I respect responsible hunters.”

Patron: “And the gun is good for self defense, of course.”

Me: “Okay.”

Patron: “Because the Revolution is going to happen again, you know.”

Me: “Sorry… I need to go help those people over there now.”

Do You Wanna Build Biomedical Technology?

| Cleveland, OH, USA | Family & Kids, Movies & TV

(I work at a science museum. One of the exhibits has paper for visitors to write on, asking what they would like to know about biomedical technology. Since much of our visitors are children on field trips, not all the comments are related to medicine. My coworkers take delight in collecting the funniest ones. One day, my coworker comes in with a stack from the exhibit. After showing people, she hangs it in her cubicle. Curious, I look at it.)

Paper: *in the tell-tale scrawl of a five-year-old* “Hi, I’m Olaf and I like warm hugs. – [Child’s Name].”

(The child even drew a snowman!)

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| Unfiltered

Our local museum has just introduced a new exhibit about the evolution of humans. A volunteer is showing my kids the difference in skulls of a modern human, a chimpanzee and “Lucy” (a fossil from Africa). He also has a map, showing the different branches of primates.
Lady Passing By: I just don’t get that.

Volunteer: I’d be happy to help explain, ma’am. What can I help you with?

Lady: The monkeys. Why do people keep saying we came from monkeys? We don’t look anything LIKE monkeys!

My son: Look at the chimpanzee skull! It looks a lot like ours!

Volunteer: Well, actually, most scientists think we had a common ancestor –

Lady: But we look NOTHING like them!

Volunteer: Species do change over time – Lady – NOTHING LIKE MONKEYS! NOTHING!

The lady storms off, shaking her head.

Me – Does that happen often?

Volunteer – Every. Single. Day. I can’t wait until this exhibit is over.

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