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Tuesday, 16 October 2012: Today we went to the Weston Park Museum in Sheffield, United Kingdom for a field visit. 

Yes, I am in grad school and we get to go on field trips. It’s awesome!

Oh, and we behave worse than the kids in grade school. Stick a bunch of museum kids in a room, and we will try to touch things. But you can’t blame us TOO much. We do get to touch them when we’re working, so we should get to touch any museum object, right? (The correct answer to this mostly rhetorical question is, yes).

It was a museum mostly geared towards children, and I (and everyone else in my program) were giddy like children about being there. It was a fantastic museum.

There were interactives, sound effects, really cool artifacts (I will always refuse to spell it the way people do here [artefacts] because that’s just silly. It’s not pronounced artEfacts, it has an “I” sound…). I also loved the text panels with FASCINATING information about things from thousands of years ago. Fun fact: Sheffield was inhabited at least 12,800 years ago. Does that not just blow your mind?!? (I guess it wouldn’t if you were from like Egypt or some awesome place like that but whatever, it’s still cool).

Okay, I’m going to be really honest…I’ve always wondered HOW they decide that these facts are facts. I mean, I understand carbon dating and knowing your history, etc., but REALLY. None of us were there in the time of the Romans or pre-Mesolithic era, so how do we REALLY know that the arrow-shaped rock was really a spear or axe for a certain tribe. And yes, I have taken anthropology, and found it absolutely fascinating, but I still don’t get it. I wish I was one of those people that could look at a fossilized rock and determine that it was used by the Tribe X from Y region and it was for Z purpose. That would be cool.

But back to the museum.

The exhibits were awesome. Some people might think it was geared too much toward children, but let’s face it, if you think that then you’re just not an imaginative and fun person.

Personally, my favorite artifact in the museum was the woolly rhinoceros. We named him Willy. He’s cool. Yes, I pet him…he was soft. 

Basically, the whole point of this museum visit was for us to see how a museum can completely change their target audience. And personally, I think that the shift to a more kid-friendly environment (and not as some pretentious, uppity place that makes you feel small and unwelcome…I know you know what I’m talking about) was for the best. By the way, there were people of every age in there that were throughly enjoying themselves…not just the rowdy group of grad students and grade students.

So if you’re ever in Sheffield, you should go to the Weston Park Museum. You will not be disappointed.

You can follow the Weston Park Museum on Twitter at: @MuseumSheffield, on Flickr, and on Facebook.

For more weird things that I do throughout the day, follow me on Twitter: @amyestone12