Monday, October 11, 2010

Would you spend a month in a museum?

The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago is looking for "you." And by "you," we mean an adventurous, outgoing person with a strong interest in learning about science and the world around her or him, plus the ability to write engagingly about your experiences.

The prize: spend 24 hours a day for a month inside the museum. Your home and office: a glassed enclosure. Requirement: Write about what you learn.

1,500 people applied.

HALLIE: My favorite part of this are the Requirements statement. Here's some of what it says. The winning candidate must:

  • Pass a drug test, behavioral assessment, and background checks.
  • Agree to very limited contact with the outside, and limited and/or prohibited personal use of cell phone, texting, e-mail, Facebook, etc.
  • Reside exclusively in the Museum during the residence period.
  • May be required to sleep in confined or "untraditional" spaces, walk around the Museum, including climbing stairs frequently, stand for significant periods of time. (This might include working the Museum floor, performing live science demos, blowing up chemicals in our "Bangs, Flashes and Fire" show, and other really fun stuff.)
  • Work on a computer daily to write about your amazing experiences.
  • Entertain absolutely no visitors overnight or when the Museum is closed to the public.
Just announced: The Museum's Roomie is Kate McGroaty, who is adorable and seems to be one part performer and one part writer.

It's a great publicity stunt for the museum - caught my attention, that's for sure! Would you do it?

Sure! Um, on second thought, no way. Well, it would be hilarious, gotta admit. And good publicity. But would it be "good" publicity? And it might be kind of--forgive me--scary. On the other hand, it might be educational. And a terrific book, which is devoutly to be wished. Part performer and part writer seems pretty perfect. But I am kind of part-performer and part-writer. Still, I'm more not-live-in-a-fishbowl.

A museum reality show, right? There's mash-up for you. As you can see, I wish I could say, sure! Of course I'd do it! But in reality, I don't think I would.

Sigh. If definitely makes me realize I may not be an adventurer.

HALLIE: No, Hank, I truly can't see you (or me!) living in a fishbowl. And a month is a really long time.

RHYS: As one who has trouble sleeping in traditional spaces, I don't think I'd want to curl up under the Tyrannosaurus Rex, and you lost me anyway when it said "no email". I don't think I could live without e-mail for a month. But I can see that it would be a great adventure for a younger person. My eleven year old grandson would sign up in a heartbeat. He LOVES science museums.

HALLIE: That's it, pre-teen's dream. My neighbor's cub scout troop did an overnight at a natural history museum...literally under T Rex.

ROBERTA: I'm not in, surprise, surprise. The sleeping would kill me. And the book hook is most intriguing and they are making it clear that it's their book, not the resident's. Don't you think? So you can't even drum up your Facebook or blog numbers! Wait, wait, they didn't say anything about pay, did they? Maybe it's a whopping sum, like co-writing for James Patterson and you swallow hard and do it? On the other hand, it's a museum and since when do they have big bucks?

Or here's another idea--could we do it as a group and rotate in and out?? Nope, I'm with Hank and Rhys--like the agents say, doesn't meet our needs at this time:).

HALLIE: I want to know where she goes to the bathroom... I mean is there even a shower?

RO: I would definitely live in a museum for a month - preferably The Brooklyn Museum. They have an amazing Egyptian collection and I could finally become an expert. And there are wonderful period rooms including a Frank Lloyd Wright room. Oh wait....the Gardner Museum in Boston, how cool would that be?

HALLIE: I like the way you think, Ro... Especially if they let me move the furniture (Bella's will forbids rearranging ANYTHING in the house).

So, would you be up for a month in a museum? Which one?

Stay tuned this week!
  • Tomorrow on True Crime Tuesday we'll hear from Amanda Enayati who tracked down a thief, and whose story about it on Salon went viral.
  • Wednesday Lily Prelezzo talks about collaborating with the founder of Brothers to the Rescue, a humanitarian group of courageous men and women who risk their lives to pluck men, women, and children from certain death, fleeing Castro’s Cuba on makeshift rafts, to write the new book Seagull One. It’s also a thriller, only one that really happened.
  • Thursday Rhys and Hank update us on all the excitement going on at Bouchercon in San Francisco which sadly the rest of us are missing.
  • And Friday? That's Anything Can Happen Day. Tune in and be surprised!


  1. I knew Ro would do it! She's the brave one of the group--where are you now, anyway, Ro? Or where are you off to?

    The fishbowl question is interesting,'s why I madly clean up all the newspapers in our den when I know someone is coming over. Keeping a little illusion is a good thing.

  2. A month? That's hard for any adult to simply give up the regular routine of life. No contact? Hmmm. But if I were to choose a museum, I'd choose the Metropolitan Museum in New York. What fantasy fun it could be. Traipsing through each room and imagining to be one of the artists. What if the characters really do come to life off the canvas? What if there's a spirit life we truly don't know about? Put on a suit of armor? Pick up a sword or two? Touch (I mean, really touch, because all those signs say don't TOUCH) a ten thousand year old vase? Fun, fun, fun.
    Mystery Lovers' Kitchen

  3. HI guys,
    Sorry I missed out on this one -- I did a radical thing and went to the Vineyard WITHOUT my laptop (it was heaven actually)

    I'm torn on this. On the one hand, I'm pretty flexible about my living situations. So I think I could do it. And I'd love being forced to unplug from the Internet (see above graph)

    But the thing about museums are the hard floors. No matter what museum I'm in, I get to a point where I just have to get out or sit down. So the being on my feet in a museum for a month might just do my lower back in.

    But I'd love the part-performer part, and I think as a non-science person, I'd have a lot to say about being this up close and personal with science.

    Maybe with really supportive shoes??

  4. Not that I would have done it, the living in a fishbowl part would scare me away, but I would choose the Smithsonian. I love those museums.

  5. I have to confess that the bathroom situation did also cross my mind. Is the shower visible to the entire world? And as for the loo...
    And even the changing clothes part. Hank would be fine. She'd bring 31 black suits and 31 pairs of shoes.

    (and my security word today is pinguero--is that a Patagonian penguin?--which is a Welsh word by the way, meaning white head.)

  6. Even if she showers when the museum is closed...I'm thinking 'security cameras everywhere.'

    Ooooh, wouldn't it be fun to 'live' in the America furniture wing of the Met! If they'd actually let you sit in the chairs.

    And Jan, where would you play tennis?

  7. Rhys, I'm laughing...and hey, see you soon!

    Oh, and mine is SLYLYS, which is most definitely Welsh. In fact, is a good name for a character, right? Rhys, feel free...

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  9. If I wasn't married,(no way I'm staying away from Chris for a month!) and if I could have my ebook reader (stuffed to the gills with all my favorites), then yeah I'd be up for it. Can you imagine all the reading time? I can sleep anywhere.