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Are you interested in the files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler?
July 15, 2010 8:02 PM   Subscribe

(Previously) Feel like running away? Do you like museums? Are you interested in science and writing? The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago is interested in you. As a roommate. For a month. 24/7. Sleep in the Silver Streak! Get your geek on in the Smart Home! Watch movies in your Omnimax theater! Surf the web in Networld! Oh, yeah. And earn $10,000 for your time. So you can blow it all in the gift shop :)
posted by jeanmari (63 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is so cool. If it weren't logistically impossible I'd apply in a heartbeat.
posted by resiny at 8:11 PM on July 15, 2010


How'd we get $240 of astronaut ice cream? Shhhh....
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 8:20 PM on July 15, 2010 [9 favorites]


Oh, my god, that is my dream come true.

I don't give a shit that I'm a working mother, the breadwinner in my family, live 1000 miles away. I am IN!!!
posted by Sublimity at 8:21 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


i'd apply except i have plans that month, really.
posted by djduckie at 8:21 PM on July 15, 2010


You must be legally allowed to receive compensation for services in the United States.

Bugger.
posted by twirlypen at 8:23 PM on July 15, 2010


Actually, I wonder if they'd remove that condition if I offered to do it for free...
posted by twirlypen at 8:23 PM on July 15, 2010


How's the health insurance benefits?
posted by cjorgensen at 8:24 PM on July 15, 2010


It's a prize and not a job? That sounds a little fishy.
posted by ODiV at 8:28 PM on July 15, 2010


I mean the $10k is listed as a prize "if you can successfully complete the Month at the Museum".

Not that it doesn't sound awesome. They would probably do pretty well for applications for just room and board.
posted by ODiV at 8:33 PM on July 15, 2010


brb changing last name to Frankweiler
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:33 PM on July 15, 2010 [8 favorites]


I mean the $10k is listed as a prize "if you can successfully complete the Month at the Museum".

You make it sound like an elimination contest from a bad 80's movie or MacGuyver or something.

"Unfortunately, Contestant 4 should have remembered that this chemical reaction produces chlorine gas, which is ... quite deadly. What a pity. Number 3, you are in the lead now."
posted by Comrade_robot at 8:38 PM on July 15, 2010 [10 favorites]


Well, Ben Stiller only made it two nights, so a month is a long time.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:47 PM on July 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


I am so applying for this! After I make sure I can get time off from work,of course.
posted by TedW at 8:51 PM on July 15, 2010


Agree to very limited contact with the outside, and limited and/or prohibited personal use of cell phone, texting, e-mail, Facebook, etc., during the residence period.
[...]
Meeting, interacting and socializing with crowds of Museum guests every day … with a smile.


Not for me, nope.
posted by rtha at 8:52 PM on July 15, 2010 [10 favorites]


Comrade_robot: "You make it sound like an elimination contest from a bad 80's movie or MacGuyver or something."

Or a reality show. The contestents who are granted immunity for the round are given red roses, which they then dip in liquid nitrogen and shatter.
posted by brundlefly at 8:54 PM on July 15, 2010


30 days is a looong time
posted by liza at 9:02 PM on July 15, 2010


Agree to very limited contact with the outside, and limited and/or prohibited personal use of cell phone, texting, e-mail, Facebook, etc., during the residence period.

[...]

Meeting, interacting and socializing with crowds of Museum guests every day … with a smile.

Not for me, nope.
posted by rtha at 11:52 PM on July 15

exactly. i mean : can i twitter on their account? but still, that's an insane amount of time w/o everyday personal communications.
posted by liza at 9:05 PM on July 15, 2010


WTF during the school semester???' I don't think the patrons will appreciate my morning (noon) attire, though.
posted by cmoj at 9:05 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would enter, but they probably wouldn't like what I'd write. I went back to the museum a few years ago. I wanted to see two exhibits in particular, the giant Wimshurst Machine, and the "human section."

The museum used to have a display of antique scientific equipment, the centerpiece was a gigantic Wimshurst Machine, about 10 feet in diameter. It had giant Leyden Jars (capacitors) about 5 feet tall to hold the electric charge. It must have generated fearsome bolts of electricity when it operated. But the machine, and all the antique equipment was gone. In its place were some awful computer kiosks with ridiculously simple interactive games.

I found the Human Section hidden away in a remote stairwell, as usual. The display is always gruesome, a cadaver was frozen and sliced vertically into slices, fixed with formaldehyde, then sandwiched between two plates of plexiglass for display. But to my horror, over the years, there must have been small amounts of formaldehyde vapor leaking out, the top of the sections were no longer immersed. The tops of the sections were exposed to air, and started rotting away. I was appalled. A man gave his body to science and had provided a strange sort of education for many years, but now they're just letting it rot away, for lack of proper preservation.

I made many visits to the Museum over the years, when I was a child, and it always left me with a sense of wonderment. But my adult revisit just made me wonder, what the hell had they done to the museum?
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:06 PM on July 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


I wonder if they'll let me setup a squat rack inside the submarine.

I used up most of my vacation days already but I'll figure that out when the time comes. Application time!
posted by zephyr_words at 9:22 PM on July 15, 2010


My sister Margot and I are so in.
posted by dhartung at 9:29 PM on July 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


Mailing my application in tomorrow.

Maybe it will be more hard and less fun than it sounds. So what if it is? $10,000 in a month is nothing to sneeze at.

Also: I suspect that the cash is a prize and not wages as a tax benefit to you, the recipient, but I could be mistaken about that.
posted by paisley henosis at 9:42 PM on July 15, 2010


would i be disqualified if i took outside bets that i could spend all 30 days aboard the U-505

by the end i'll look like the captain in DAS BOOT haunted bearded and pale
posted by Hammond Rye at 9:58 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


The only thing I'm not clear on is food. The in-museum restaurant has museum prices, and I can't imagine you could live on its food and stay sane.
posted by LSK at 10:02 PM on July 15, 2010


Oh MAN. If this wouldn't be during the most credit-packed semester of college I'm taking ever, I would go for this in a heartbeat. I meet every other qualification.
posted by ShawnStruck at 10:02 PM on July 15, 2010


Also: I suspect that the cash is a prize and not wages as a tax benefit to you, the recipient, but I could be mistaken about that.

Having won $10,000 before, let me assure you: it's no tax benefit.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 10:05 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Uh, this basically means no hanky panky for a month, right?
posted by phunniemee at 10:06 PM on July 15, 2010


Meeting, interacting and socializing with crowds of Museum guests every day … with a smile.

"So, do you come to the museum often? Interested in learning about friction? Listen, I know this sounds cheesy, but we're already back at my place. So what do you say?"
posted by maxwelton at 10:06 PM on July 15, 2010 [12 favorites]


This is SO COOL. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler was one of my favourite books when I was a kid. I would have been in heaven if I could have done this as a child.

Too bad I can't qualify, as a non-American. Rats!

Agree to very limited contact with the outside, and limited and/or prohibited personal use of cell phone, texting, e-mail, Facebook, etc., during the residence period.

That actually sounds fantastic to me. It's nice to take a little holiday from this stuff every once in a while.

Meeting, interacting and socializing with crowds of Museum guests every day … with a smile.

I'm kind of introverted, but just being able to do this would mean I'd be walking around with a huge grin on my face anyway!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:08 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


The best person for this would clearly have been Hunter S. Thompson. Only he could really explain who all these museum visitors are, what they are looking for, how the history of the intersection of science and industry in chicago has given rise to such a kitschy museum, and wtf is up with the fairy castle.

Man I love that place. I wonder if they'd let you go behind the scenes of the coal mine ride?
posted by mai at 10:20 PM on July 15, 2010


Am I the only one who thinks this sounds like Hell? I went to that museum when I visited Chicago last and it felt like a weird propagandistic fever dream, deserving of the title of "museum" as much as any industry trade show might be. Did I miss something?
posted by invitapriore at 10:34 PM on July 15, 2010


I thought this was the most awesome thing ever until I realized that they're only looking for one person. To do stuff. Mostly alone. Which doesn't actually sound like much fun. I'm down with interacting with museum guests and blogging and being a time-traveling explorer and whatnot.
posted by zennie at 10:35 PM on July 15, 2010


cons: introvert, married, writing a thesis, can't go to lab.
pros: writing a thesis. within 6 blocks of my house yet can't go to lab.

I dunno. sounds really f'n tempting. This would be undeniably do-worthy if it was the Field museum.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 11:08 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have been literally ignoring this all day, and thus missed the limited-contact thing. OH MY GOD I have literally dreamt, I mean actually had dreams about, living in the MSI as if it were a spaceship in interstellar transit. I am certainly applying. I bet I dream about it tonight.
posted by mwhybark at 11:13 PM on July 15, 2010


this will create a big measure, but what's the conversion? 12 people. I hope whoever they are going after for a gift will see that.
posted by parmanparman at 11:15 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


mai: "I wonder if they'd let you go behind the scenes of the coal mine ride?"

If you're there 24/7 for a month, how could they stop you?

I mean, I'm planning on at least a couple overnights in the LEM, just for starters. And a night in the sealed off Paul Bunyan Room. The U-Boat, storage, let alone the Zephyr: oh, I could go on and on!
posted by mwhybark at 11:17 PM on July 15, 2010


Having won $10,000 before, let me assure you: it's no tax benefit.

Whoa whoa whoa. You can't just leave that hanging. Story time!
posted by poe at 11:18 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is amazing. I'm coming up with my ideas for the application right now.
posted by skidknee at 11:56 PM on July 15, 2010


I... I wish I were unemployed. Maybe I can get people to cover for me for a month... Incredibly jealous people who would despise me and my "precious little adventure" while they toiled twice as hard to cover my responsibilities in addition to their own. Okay. Maybe not.
posted by whatnotever at 3:39 AM on July 16, 2010


All my ideas involve old scooby doo plots.
posted by The Whelk at 4:05 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Damn, I would actually be a great candidate for this. I'm unemployed, I love talking and writing and writing about science and I even have the mental and technical skills and experience to camp out somewhere non-traditional like a museum. 30 days would be no big deal, even without regular net access. It would be fascinating.

But for the same reasons they wouldn't hire a theoretical Hunter S Thompson, I'm probably way too scruffy and weird to be an ideal photogenic candidate for the job.
posted by loquacious at 4:05 AM on July 16, 2010


Uh, this basically means no hanky panky for a month, right?

....Dude, I've gone a year without, and no one's paid me any damn ten grand for it. I'm considering this, seriously.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:06 AM on July 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


Uh, this basically means no hanky panky for a month, right?

Says who? Think of all the amazing and illuminating ways the "Human Sexual Response" pavilion could entertain!
posted by The Whelk at 4:08 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I found the Human Section hidden away in a remote stairwell, as usual.

That was my memory of the museum as well. I went for the first time in the 70's as a kid. When I returned 20 years later, it hadn't changed much. A couple of years ago, though, they began re-designing it a bit. We just saw the new "You!" exhibit and, next to the exhibits where you can control stuff WITH YOUR MIND (actually an electronic headband that reads your brain activity and moves a small ball away from you as you relax. When it reaches your opponent, you win) and operate on a "faux" patient, there was the Human Section. Retooled and prepped and out of the stairwell! Next to the Gunther von Hagens plastinates, of course.

I've been back to that museum more often, as I have a 4 year old and they've put together this pretty cool playspace called Idea Factory, and I've been noticing that the museum is becoming more, well, fun. More interactive, definitely more sophisticated. I was there about a month ago and they were dropping water balloons from the second level to the first level for a science demonstration (to the delight of all of the kids).

If I didn't have a job and a four year old (or if they would let me work in the evenings and bring my kid and her sitter), I WOULD BE SO THERE!
posted by jeanmari at 4:25 AM on July 16, 2010


I don't think they'd find me hip enough for this.
posted by JanetLand at 5:27 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


As someone who spent many scout trips sleeping in various museums (Boston, Thames, some other weird ones throughout New England), I am so incredibly jealous of anyone who does this. I'm starting school in September, so it's an absolute no-go, but man, this is my college-age* dream-job.

*(Before I got more cynical and heavy.)
posted by cobaltnine at 5:38 AM on July 16, 2010


Man, I was all psyched about this as I assumed that you would be hiding away like a weirdo hermit in the bowels of the museum, only coming out after all the crowds had gone, maybe with one of those annoying camera mounts attached to your head.

No way am I "meeting, interacting and socializing with crowds of Museum guests every day … with a smile." I can barely force myself to acknowledge my coworkers some days, and they already know I'm nuts. I would prolly snap and barricade myself in the LEM with an assortment of medieval weaponry.
posted by elizardbits at 5:47 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ability to stand for significant periods of time

translation: wearing an animal skin and posing in a diorama.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 7:35 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


translation: wearing an animal skin and posing in a diorama.

Naw, it's secretly some kind of The Most Dangerous Game with mad scientists or something.
posted by The Whelk at 7:36 AM on July 16, 2010


poe: "Whoa whoa whoa. You can't just leave that hanging. Story time!"

It's actually a pretty boring story. I won this thing in 2007 with this paper. It looks like the prize was only sustainable for two years, they've stopped giving it out anymore.

I'll choose not to name-drop in the thread, but let's just say a person involved with the Hamilton Project and now in the administration, who really should have known better, had absolutely no clue what the tax implications were and speculated on them openly in his remarks. Sadly, since this prize and my prize are basically freelance income (instead of like a sweepstakes or something, where the prize is given out at random), I suspect you pay at the freelance tax rate, which is just writing one big check for income tax and FICA at the end of the quarter or year instead of having it deducted.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 7:39 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not that having lots in common with a Mefite is a special occurrence but hurdy gurdy girl's comment was almost exactly what I was going to write (childhood love of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, limited outside/online world contact sounding fantastic, easily turning more extroverted when something this awesome is possible) except I'm also American and a Chicagoan at that. In fact I was 10 when I visited Chicago for the first time and knew I was going to live here even though we just spent time at the museums; though it's been far from a disappointment, I think I would have really made my childhood dreams come true if I'd been able to live at the museum.

My only disappointment is that I thought it would be pretty awesome to be able to host the November Chicago meetup.

As for the job, though I know it's not a ton of money, I think if I got it, I'd just say fuck it. And hopefully be able to start my career as the guy who lives in museums for months at a time.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:34 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


(oops, my kingdom for a 30 sec edit 00 I don't know why I said that re: the cash; $10K would be a shit ton of money for me right now and would gladly accept any donations if anybody really thinks that's true)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:35 AM on July 16, 2010


I'm applying for this when I get home this afternoon. Hot damn.
posted by Heretic at 9:02 AM on July 16, 2010


Uh, this basically means no hanky panky for a month, right?

Does this include masturbation? I'd probably die after three weeks.
posted by orme at 9:16 AM on July 16, 2010


I'm applying but I bet I'm too old and unphotogenic. Otherwise, hell: I got laid off in April from my job as the communications manager for a science museum. Therefore I think I'm at least slightly qualified. And, hell, at that job $10,000 was about half a year's net wages, so I'm totally up for earning it in one month.
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:47 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Aw, man. I grew up in Chicago. This is my (nine-year-old) dream come true.

my new dream is to own a Zephyr for occasional rail travel
posted by davejay at 9:57 AM on July 16, 2010


Will they let me run the Omnimax at night?
posted by mike_bling at 9:59 AM on July 16, 2010


I think one of the first criteria is having a version of computer hardware esoteric enough to handle the application. That file gave my (up-to-date) version of Adobe fits of the sort I had never seen, including this bit of cryptographia:
This document contained certain rights to enable special fieatures in Adobe Rader. The document has been changed since it was created and these rights are no longer valid...
What?
posted by Ogre Lawless at 10:25 AM on July 16, 2010


Okay, I'm a little obsessed with the 1893 World's Fair ('World's Columbian Exposition,' I know, I know) so getting to live in the only remaining buildings would be BEYOND AWESOME.

Seriously, so cool. OMG.
posted by Put the kettle on at 12:12 PM on July 16, 2010


A purely practical question: where is the (required) release and waiver form? I've downloaded the application but there's no long-form waiver included.

"Purely practical" because OH HELL YES I AM APPLYING for this. I've already confirmed two of my preferred recommendations.
posted by Elsa at 3:20 PM on July 16, 2010


I'm probably way too scruffy and weird to be an ideal photogenic candidate for the job.

Yeah, ditto. Which is too bad, because untraditional sleeping spaces? Explosions? Isolation? Submarines? Hells yeah!

Well, there's also the fact that I can't really take a month off from doing science. Plus, it would be fairly... meta? (or something) to take a month off from lab to live in a science museum and "occasionally [...] leave the Museum to see science where it happens."
posted by ubersturm at 4:02 PM on July 16, 2010


I read the stuff about cell phones and whatnot (seriously, no blogging while you live in a museum? Tragedy!) and thought, "lemme guess, this is leaning towards reality show here." Oh well, I'm not photogenic either but I wish the winner well in getting their geek on.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:22 PM on July 16, 2010


Ogre Lawless, I had the same problem. Try saving the file on your computer first, and then opening it. Once I did that, it opened fine for me.
posted by epj at 9:19 AM on July 19, 2010


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