Sunday, November 14, 2010

As promised here are some photographs from behind the scenes at the Peabody Museum. I asked permission to take the photographs. The woman said yes, but only if they are not for commercial purposes. They okayed them for a blog so I am posting them, but I added an unsightly total pain-in-the-butt watermark to prevent their commercial use by anyone else.

In the back room they have these special filing cabinets filled to the brim with stuffed birds, feathers, and even extinct birds like the Ivory-billed woodpecker in the top photograph. It made the news not long ago when someone thought they spotted it--alive. That sent a bunch of researchers hunting for the bird and recording its call. Sadly, it turned out to be a sneaky pileated woodpecker. The Senior Collections Manager opened a jar and uncoiled an octopus' arm. I really wanted to touch it to feel how gushy it was, but I was so busy trying to take the picture that by the time I was all set the arm was getting coiled back in the jar of liquid and it was too late. Artists sometimes come in and use these birds as models for accurate scientific drawings.

Today, I volunteered at the CT Children's Book Fair. I had a fun social task of asking everyone how they heard about the book fair. The majority said "we come every year." One Italian lady totally cracked me up. When she saw Clifford, the big red dog, she squealed with delight. I couldn't help but say, "now who is more excited here?" It reminded me of something I might of done when my kids were little. I also ran into a couple of people from town and I spoke with a woman from the New England Independent Book Association who happened to have positioned herself by the door where I was standing. I was heartened to see an entire table of nonfiction books.

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