Avast! Thar be spoilers ahead!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Museum of Science and Industry: Month at the Museum

Recently, I read an article in Wired magazine by Matthew Honan entitled "One Man's Journey Into Stunt Books." It is a short jaunt into the world of experimental living (think of the 30 Days tv series). It seems that, in order to have a successful stunt, there are certain hallmarks to the story:
1) Someone close to you should criticize your idea. If you've got "crazy," you've got stunt gold.
2) Doubt thyself. Mr. Honan doesn't actually say this is a requirement but it seems to be inevitable. I recall several times in Julie & Julia when Julie Powell voiced her doubts.
3) Burnout.
4) Epiphany. "The success or failure of stunt books has little to do with the stunt itself. It depends on the author’s ability to blend artifice and artifact, on their skill at gleaning insights from contrived situations and fiddling with the facts to best shape the narrative."

I recently applied to live at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry for a month. It is a clever stunt to get people interested in the museum since it will create a micro-celebrity who will eat, sleep and blog science for a month. It is also one fantastic opportunity for whomever they pick. The winner actually lives in the museum for a month, exploring everything it has to offer, and having unique experiences. I really can't tell you everything the winner will do, because that information has not been released yet. But I am certain that it will be fun. I am sorry to say that if you want to apply, the deadline already passed (August 11th). Right now, I, and about 1,000 other people, are waiting for the phone to ring for an interview.

So far, I don't know if anyone actually has had that interview. The facebook page has been eerily quiet since the applications came in. It is possible that all interviewees have been asked not to leak any information and that they have been well-behaved in that respect. I would, too. I wouldn't want to lose my chance just because I bragged. Some people seem happy to have just applied or say they will happy just to be a finalist. I wish I could feel that way but it just doesn't seem like enough. I really, really want this and I know I could rock the month at the museum. There are probably several applicants who would also be good fits, but I don't know them. I only know me. And I know that I would be great at blogging and interviews and experiments and staying enthusiastic and nice and engaging. So far, I have met qualification number 1. My grandmother told me it sounded creepy, cool but creepy.

The Month at the Museum experiment seems to have been launched at the right time - when stunt books are at their most popular and prolific and when a stunt like this would have the greatest impact. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that this is just PR and publicity. I had not even thought about it in terms of stunt books until I read that short article. It will be an interesting experiment, no matter who they pick . . . but I still want to be the guinea pig myself.

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