Friday, August 8, 2008

Week Six Math

The end of our sixth week here at the AMNH not only marks the 75% point in our internship, but is also significant for other reasons. We've finally finished pulling inventory sheets for the third floor (which may sound like a simple enough task, but it took an army of seven people five weeks to complete). We have also achieved something we didn't think would happen at all - we've caught up with the movers (an outside company is working with the museum to physically move and clean all of the specimens). They are in charge of bringing up all of the cabinets and all of the drawers from the second floor to the third, and as of yesterday we had just about finished lining the drawers from the 401 cabinets they have filled so far. Our glory was short-lived, though, because after we finished those drawers they immediately filled up 10 more cabinets.

A look at the third floor collections area. There are rows and rows of cabinets that look like these shown here.

So that begs the questions - why is it going faster some weeks than others? And how much will we really be able to complete before we leave on August 22nd? To begin to answer that, I think it's best to show two pictures that exemplify the two extremes we're working with:

Sometimes we have cabinets that are filled to the top with drawers, and those drawers are full of more specimens than you can count (one cabinet we did had 14 drawers). Others will have one or two drawers that have maybe one large fossil in them. This makes some days much faster than others. Overall, though, we've finished 400 of the approximate 700 cabinets that will ultimately be on floor three. Assuming the movers keep up their current rate (and we do as well), we'll probably finish another 160 cabinets in the next two weeks. Although it will mean that we haven't completed the rehousing (there will be ~140 cabinets left to line) it will bring the project very close to completion.

On another note, we've had some very interesting tours over the last couple of weeks. Last week we were treated to a tour of Earth & Planetary Sciences where, among other things, we got to hold a piece of Mars. This week, we visited the Anthropology department and saw parts of the collection (mostly North American materials) as well as the "Smudging Room" - the only room in the museum where it is OK to burn things. This room was created expressly for tribal delegations that visit the department and wish to perform a smudging ceremony with specific ethnological artifacts.

Well, that's about it for this week. Enjoy the last weeks of summer and we'll be back with an update next Friday.

No comments: