I hope this post finds you safe and healthy. Here at the Florida Museum, things have been shut down for a while, and it has given us a great opportunity to tackle all the parts of our job that our job prevents us from doing. Now that we are not out in the field, or physically in the museum answering phone calls, attending meetings, pulling loans, entering loan, sending loans, or returning loans, we have time to do other stuff that has a tendency to get back-burnered. We have been able to tackle our backlog of photos from various field trips and get those edited up and matched to their specimens. Old donated collections that we have been saving for a rainy day are now getting their day in the sun. Large-scale data analysis, especially of our genetic data, can finally proceed now that there is time to do so. Even the less-delightful projects of agency form-filling and regulation-familiarization are getting done.
Which is not to say that we haven’t had meetings. Our museum-wide all-staff meetings have never been better attended, with over 120 people joining virtually to hear the latest news on what is happing with our colleagues in other research divisions, the public sides, and with the FLMNH as a whole. We have also had a few IZ lab meetings to share news and discuss our new workflows.
We have not completely avoided the office either. John and I have been deemed “off-site essential” by the University, so we have permission to visit the collection on an as-needed basis. John has been picking up and delivering paperwork and specimens to those of us around town. Also, this happened…
Apparently the cabinet construction industry has not slowed down either. We are expecting a delivery of some giant specimen cabinets in the coming week. So giant, in fact, that your standard-issue doorframe just wouldn’t do. Our intrepid building manager, George Hecht, made a new doorway between our range and the utility room.
Also keeping us on our toes, one of the oldest members of the range began to feel neglected during this time of working from home and let its feelings be known via an insistent beeping which Rob heard one morning on his way to man the front desk (someone has to hold down the fort and accept the mail).
Facing the imminent demise of the ultracold freezer, Rob and I unpacked it and managed to cram everything into the regular-cold freezers up in the molecular lab. Not ideal for the stuff going in, or for the stuff already in there which has now been rendered inaccessible through excessive crowding.
Before leaving that afternoon I turned off the freezer and unplugged it…the beeping continued. The next day when John come in to pick something up, the freezer was still beeping like a zombie. He ignored it for as long as he could before finding the tiny battery powering the alarm and disconnected it.
Never a dull moment, even whilst socially distant.