One of the great things about working at a major history museum is the proximity one has to really amazing artifacts. The fellows’ offices are in the basement, close to the loading dock. At first, I was a little disappointed at being in a subterranean lair with no light, far away from the curators’ offices on the upper floors, but I think that, today, I have made my peace with our location. Here’s what did it.
On my way out to eat lunch, I noticed that two enormous wooden crates had appeared in the hallway. Upon close inspection, I saw that they had information written on them.
The first, a crate about five feet by six feet by six feet, read:
SI, NMAH Work + Industry
Control Unit for GM-Fanuc
S-380 Robotic Car Arm
The second crate was even more impressive, in both its size and its contents. This one was about four feet by seven feet by ten feet, and on the side was printed:
Medicine + Science
Hanford Nuclear Control Console
When I got back from lunch, another crate, this one partially open, was being transported down to the basement. It was unlabeled, but contained another piece of electronics, about the size of the Hanford console, whose purpose I could not ascertain. But: woah.
Of course, each item is labeled with its acquisition and collection number, just like a box in an archive. Except these are huge wooden crates that need several people as well as special machinery to transport. One box, one huge electromechanical artifact at a time, please, researchers. Oh, and I hear that the off-site storage facilities are amazing, just what you’d imagine. I can’t believe I didn’t bring my camera today.
Nonetheless: cool. Very, very, very cool.