By Jack Ashby, on 14 July 2011
On occasion, people like to send things to people who work in museums. You might guess that I’m talking about objects that people want to donate to the Museum – I’m not. This isn’t that common and for that we are grateful – we have a very strict acquisitions policy and are able to take on very few specimens from the public for ethical and administrative reasons.
Instead, I’m talking about things specifically meant for me. Myself and a colleague have both received the Atlas of Creation in the past – a spectacular book that must have cost a fortune to produce. It is filled with stunning pictures of fossils, and text saying “Here is a 100 million year old fish fossil. We still have fish, so evolution is a lie”. And is filled with inaccurate and misleading “information” about what evolutionary biologists think, and how silly they are to do so. Similar “gifts” have included DVDs about creationism surreptitiously left on my desk after a school workshop about natural selection.
This week, however, I was quite pleased to receive a completely anonymous postcard, with a postmark from Denver, simply saying: “I have met a living dodo bird there’s no longer a need for your old bones“.
This week also I got an email with file entitled “An Urgent Message to the Population of Earth from the Human Population in Andromeda” but daren’t open it for obvious reasons, although nothing else about it looked like spam. I hope I haven’t endangered the human race by deleting an important message.
On the same day, my colleague was given a two-headed teddy bear by a visitor.
So, what is it about museums that some people feel so driven to connect or donate?
Are there other museum folk out there who have received unusual gifts? I’d be interested to hear.
Jack Ashby is the Manager of the Grant Museum of Zoology.