Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Dead animals and arsenic

Pics from a behind the scenes tour of Kristen's office/shop in the Education Department.

Imagine having a 30-foot shark diorama as your office decor... I did see some heavily patterned customized cubicles at Office Max on my last trip to Organizational Candyland, but I think an underwater specimen beats that hands down. Kristen's surrounded by the portable taxidermy known as The Field Museum's Harris Educational Loan Center that tours schools to spread knowledge of wildlife and habitats. Having worked in Rare Books and Special Collections at NIU, I have a real affection for doing grunt work among incredible or mundane documents in time. Add to the mix, my childhood obsession with petting creatures, taxidermied Wood Duck or live cat... and I was happy to see Kristen surrounded by power tools and curiosities. Getting to see Kristen is a treat in itself- she's the sole being in DeKalb that stopped by our house without calling to warn us first. I miss that.

If you are headed to the Field, I would recommend dedicating a large chunk of time to the Aztec World. I didn't wait to watch the video intro--- the objects themselves were spellbinding. I wish I was still in DeKalb and could hear Professor Jeff Karl Kowalski's lecture before heading out on the NIU Art Museum's "Get-On-The-Bus" trip to the show. Incredible!

Also, take a stroll down to the Children's Cafeteria for the sea life dioramas. The Narwhals (again not pictured out of reverence) are worth the admission charge. Brad couldn't pass up taking some shots of the Walrus, and their Suessical faces and Trompe-l'œil backdrop. After seeing how well our house in DeKalb is staying clean in spite of time, I shouldn't be so amazed that the dioramas are not dusted.

Ahh... I don't miss the snow banks but I do miss being so close to Chicago. There's quite a bit to be said about familiarity in crowded places.

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