I love to tell this story whenever I get a chance.
I remember when I started at the museum. It was the middle of summer, we had hundreds of visitors streaming through everyday. I barely had time to catch my breath. Inevitably, the winter comes and it slows down. This affords the museum with an opportunity to catch our bearings and tidy up lose ends. It was the middle of November and I was looking for something to do. I noticed our former Public Programmer working in one of our archives. I went in and asked if he needed a hand with anything. While moving some boxes, I exposed an old crate. On closer inspection, I discovered a stone inside. Within that stone, was a Dinosaur Footprint!
Well, I sprinted out of the archives, searching out our Curator to inform her of my discovery. I popped my head into her office, and with a smile that could rival a child's on Christmas morning, let her know the good news. She was aware that we had it but was concerned that it did not work well with any of our current displays. My response, "But, it's a Dinosaur Footprint" to which she re-iterated; it just does not fit the theme. "But, but, but... It's a Dinosaur Footprint!". The conversation continued for awhile; I think I might have repeated my statement a dozen times.
Alas, it was not going to happen. To be fair, it was early on in my museum career. I failed to recognize that it was not properly mounted and I did not fully understand the truly thorough planning that is required when designing an exhibit or display. It also needed to be kept in a safe, secure location. And rightfully so, an artifact as cool as this one needed to be appropriately displayed with proper interpretation. That childish boyhood exuberance had taken hold as it so often does with me.
Happily though, last year, we re-modeled our classroom with a grant from the Canadian Geological Foundation. The classroom was designed with an Earth Science focus, and finally presented an opportunity to display the Dinosaur Footprint. It's cleverly located, rather hidden on a side wall. While conducting the school programs, I enjoy sitting back, and letting the children find it on their own. I did not believe I could replicate the joy from the discovery of that stone, until I got the pleasure to witness kids find it for themselves. Even now, it brings a smile to my face.