assistant curate

Curator of Micropaleontology Angelina Messina found beauty and wonder in some of the Museum’s tiniest specimens. She joined the staff in the 1930s, and with the help of Assistant Curator Eleanor Salmon, prepared catalogs of foraminifera—miniscule organisms that provide important markers to geologists and hold vital records of ancient climates within their fossilized chambers.

Messina’s work won international recognition. Her 69-volumeCatalogue of Foraminifera was a seminal work in micropaleontology, used in universities and every major micropaleontological laboratory of the large oil companies, and she also co-founded the journal Micropaleontology in 1955. Her work classifying the Museum’s foraminifera collection is still used by paleontologists, geologists, and climate scientists today. The collection itself is now part of a National Science Foundation-funded project to re-house and CT scan important specimens.

This post was originally published on the Museum blog. 

AMNH Library Special Collections

youtube

Discover the science of snails with Scientists Live!

Tim Pearce, assistant curator of the Section of Mollusks, showed off pieces of Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s hidden collection and answered questions in a live broadcast this month on Facebook!

This broadcast is part of the new web series Scientists Live. Check the museum’s Facebook page for more broadcasts featuring different scientists and topics.

Curator of Micropaleontology Angelina Messina found beauty and wonder in some of the Museum’s tiniest specimens. She joined the staff in the 1930s, and with the help of Assistant Curator Eleanor Salmon, prepared catalogs of foraminifera—miniscule organisms that provide important markers to geologists and hold vital records of ancient climates within their fossilized chambers. Messina’s work won international recognition. Her 69-volume Catalogue of Foraminifera was a seminal work in micropaleontology, used in universities and every major micropaleontological laboratory of the large oil companies, and she also co-founded the journal Micropaleontology in 1955. Her work classifying the Museum’s foraminifera collection is still used by paleontologists, geologists, and climate scientists today. The collection itself is now part of a National Science Foundation-funded project to re-house and CT scan important specimens. 

Work on these tiny fossils continues at the Museum today. In this episode of Shelf Life Scientific Assistant Bushra Hussaini, researcher Ellen Thomas, Curator Neil Landman, and intern Shaun Mahmood are preserving this invaluable collection.

Cinder and Smoke

Oh hey look! The first installment in ‘the dark-but-not-FEY-dark!reincarnation AU’ XD. 

This goes along with this picture by @my-beautiful-thief. Felasel and Selene belong to her as well. And this interpretation of Dirthamen belongs to @feynites

Warnings for fire, mention of the death of an animal, and a description of an asthma attack (severe asthma attacks often have associated panic or anxiety attacks, so there is a brief mention of an anxiety attack as well).

 —

Felasel tells her early on, about Pride. He tells her about Pride, and about the first time they met, in college, hundreds of years ago.

This is the third cycle.

Keep reading

Arriving in Egypt

By Erin Peters

Today I travel for the first time to the famous city established by the emperor Hadrian in Middle Egypt, now next to the small modern village of Sheikh Abada. After meeting the car to drive to the site, we pull into familiar and infamous grid-lock Cairo traffic—it is a quick jolt to returning to Egypt after a period of three years away. The cars and mini-buses with all their decorations look the same, and the horns and shouts in Arabic sound the same and remind me of past visits to the lively city where I spent time in 2011 and 2013. During this trip, however, the aim is to get directly to the site, so after making it through the road block, we emerge on the comparatively quiet desert road for the four-and-a-half-hour drive south.

On the desert road from Cairo to Sheikh Abada

Sheikh Abada is located on the east bank of the Nile River and forms the modern Nile edge of a huge archaeological site you can see sprawling to the east (right) of the strip of buildings at the Nile.

Google satellite image of modern Sheikh Abada and the remains of ancient Antinoupolis

The village is home to approximately seven major families who are primarily farmers. The other main industry of the village is unfortunately the illegal selling of antiquities land for domestic and agricultural reclamation and modern tomb plots. The illegal encroachment of the village makes the mission’s excavation and documentation of the ancient lives of this once resplendent city all the more important.  

View of the eastern edge of the village from antiquities land

Much about this site is new to me because my past field work was very different. In addition to consulting museum collections in Cairo and Alexandria, I completed three rounds of independent spatial analysis at temple complexes in upper Egypt from 2011­–2014, many of which are major tourist sites. Additionally, a number of these complexes have been removed from their original context because of the 1960s UNESCO Campaign to Save the Monuments of Nubia due to the building of the Aswan High Dam, like the temple complex on the island of Philae.

South side of the main temple of Isis at Philae, relocated to Agilkia Island

The temple complex originally at Philae (and now relocated to a nearby island) is one of the primary sites I research because it was added to after Egypt was annexed as a Roman province in 30 BCE by the first Roman emperor Augustus. The main “Egyptian” temple of Isis (with its soaring pylons) was carved with relief decoration depicting Augustus as pharaoh and is one of many temples that ushered in a long tradition in which the Roman emperors took on the role of Egyptian pharaoh.

Imperial cult temple of Augustus at Philae, relocated to Agilkia Island

Fascinatingly, at the same complex, a temple to the imperial cult that looks like a “Roman” podium temple was also built under Augustus. My research uses the archaeological method of spatial analysis to demonstrate that the two seemingly different monuments communicate spatially, combining what we want to separate into different cultures into one functioning sacred landscape.

I was invited to Antinoupolis in part because we have the same thing at Hadrian’s famous city in Egypt. I’m thrilled to get a sense of the site and current work in the ancient city and modern village by joining a large international team this season.


Erin Peters is an assistant curator of science and research at Carnegie Museum of Natural History and is currently in Egypt for an archaeological research study. This blog is part of a series of blog posts she has written while in the field. Check back for more!

The Royal Gifts: 65 years of presents given to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II

A “royal” version of a London Underground sign, a bronze owl and a beaded throne are some of the gifts given to Queen Elizabeth II that will make up an exhibit to be shown during the annual summer opening of the state rooms at Buckingham Palace.

Visitors to the exhibition will be able to see more than 250 interesting and unusual gifts given to the queen during her 65-year reign. The presents, which cannot be sold or exchanged, will eventually become part of the Royal Collection, held in trust by the queen for the nation. The items will be on display from July 22 to Oct 1.

See more news-related photo galleries and follow us on Yahoo News Photo Tumblr

London Underground Rondel at Buckingham Palace

Sally Goodsir, assistant curator of decorative arts of the Royal Collection Trust, holds up a Buckingham Palace version of the London Underground Rondel presented on a visit to Aldgate East Tube Station in 2010, at Buckingham Palace in London, Monday, April 3, 2017. A selection of objects from Royal Gifts will be on display as part of the Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace on July 22, 2017. (Toby Melville/Reuters)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

‘Treasure Ship’ at Buckingham Palace

Hannah Belcher, exhibition coordinator of the Royal Collection Trust, inspects the Vessel of Friendship, a model of the “treasure ship”
sailed by the 15th century Chinese navigator Zeng He, that was presented by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2015, at Buckingham Palace in London, Monday, April 3, 2017. (Frank Augstein/AP)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

Silver bowl at Buckingham Palace

A silver bowl containing fruits grown in Zambia modelled in silver, which were presented by Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda, are on display at Buckingham Palace in London, Monday, April 3, 2017. A selection of objects from Royal Gifts will be on display as part of the Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace on July 22, 2017. (Frank Augstein/AP)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

A silver bowl containing fruits grown in Zambia modelled in silver, which were presented by Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda, are on display at Buckingham Palace in London, Monday, April 3, 2017. (Toby Melville/Reuters)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

Totem pole at Buckingham Palace

A wooden totem pole, carved by the Kwiakiutl of Canada’s northwest coast, presented to The Queen in 1971, is on display at Buckingham Palace in London, Monday, April 3, 2017. A selection of objects from Royal Gifts will be on display as part of the Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace on July 22, 2017. (Frank Augstein/AP)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

Bronze owl at Buckingham Palace

A gilded bronze owl from Leeds Civic Hall, presented to Queen Elizabeth II, is on display at Buckingham Palace in London, Monday, April 3, 2017. (Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

Bag containing salt at Buckingham Palace

A member of the Royal Collection Trust holds a linen bag containing salt from the British Virgin Islands, presented to Queen Elizabeth II, at Buckingham Palace in London, Monday, April 3, 2017. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

Sally Goodsir, assistant curator of decorative arts of the Royal Collection Trust, holds up a Buckingham Palace version of the London Underground Rondel presented on a visit to Aldgate East Tube Station in 2010, at Buckingham Palace in London, Monday, April 3, 2017. (Toby Melville/Reuters)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

Pair of baskets at Buckingham Palace

A member of the Royal Collection Trust displays a pair of baskets woven from coconut leaves from Tonga, presented to Queen Elizabeth II, at Buckingham Palace in London, Monday, April 3, 2017. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

Yoruba throne at Buckingham Palace

A beaded Yoruba throne presented to the Queen by the people of Nigeria in 1956 is adjusted at Buckingham Palace in London, Monday, April 3, 2017. A selection of objects from Royal Gifts will be on display as part of the Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace on July 22, 2017. (Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

Terracotta figure at Buckingham Palace

Sally Goodsir, assistant curator of decorative arts of the Royal Collection Trust, holds a Terracotta figure of “The Great Mother” from Macedonia, presented to Queen Elizabeth II, at Buckingham Palace in London, Monday, April 3, 2017. (Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

Sally Goodsir, assistant curator of decorative arts, adjusts a beaded Yoruba throne presented to the Queen by the people of Nigeria in 1956, at Buckingham Palace in London, Monday, April 3, 2017. (Toby Melville/Reuters)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

The American Explorer

((A/N: This is an AU! I’m still writing my requests, but I had a little ping in my head to write this so I’m writing this. It’s completely inspired by watching The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, so the setting is 1920′s Dean. I imagine if Dean were an Explorer, not a ‘Hunter’, but still with the same idea. He tracks down the rare and crazy, all to save lives. Sam’s not in this… yet. But if it does well, I’ll keep it going. Feedback is SUPER important! Also, if you want to be tagged, lemme know.

Pairing: 1920′s!Dean x Reader

Word Count: 2050

Warnings: Language

AU: 1920′s Explorer

Tagging: @little-red-83 @andwhenitwasclear @jodyri @torn-and-frayed @the-queen-of-hades @evanshiddlesgoddess @growningupgeek @beriala @growleytria @adaisinwonderland @holywaterbucketchallenge @iwantthedean @aprofoundbondwithdean @ohheyitsmik @flintera @aerisawriting @demondean-for-kingofhell @kazchester-fanfiction  @goandsavemyunicorn))

Cataloguing. Always cataloguing. Once more another weekday evening found you alone in the large museum, labeling and writing, organizing a new exhibit that had come in. You’d hoped your move to England would have given you more opportunities, but it was still 1920, and it was still impossible for a woman to be taken seriously. Now you were left eyeing the ‘Mythology of Edinburgh’, a piece from Scotland that had come in.

Keep reading

youtube

Did you know that Carnegie Museum of Natural History has about 13 million specimens in the Section of Invertebrate Zoology? Get a peek at the hidden collection, and learn all about insects from curator John Rawlins with our new series Scientists Live.

Tune into our Facebook on May 3 for the next episode, featuring Erin Peters, an assistant curator recently back from an expedition to Egypt. 

The American Explorer (Part 3)

(Third part! THIRD PART WOO!)

(Synopsis: The Mummy meets Supernatural. In this next installment, we are greeted by the assistant curator and a rather interesting insight into the Kelpie.

Pairing: 1920′s!Dean x Reader

Word Count: 2000

Warnings: Sass. So much sass.

Catch up! Part 1 // Part 2)

You’d met Sam briefly when he brought in the best he could muster for women’s clothes. He was taller than his brother, though both were arguably giants. He seemed softer, though. Different, “Hope these are OK. Couldn’t exactly shop for style.” He laughed nervously, handing over the items. They were acceptable, you were sure, though not what you would have picked out. Brown slacks and a more form-fitting white blouse. They were far more liberal.

Keep reading

Celebrating Women’s History Month at the Museum

March is Women’s History Month, and through the month, we’ll be looking to our nearly 150-year past, exciting present, and bright future to bring you stories of women in science here at the American Museum of Natural History. Today, we’re taking a look at a few of the women who help shaped the Museum in it’s early years. 

Pictured is herpetologist Mary Cynthia Dickerson, author of Moths and Butterflies (1901) and The Frog Book (1906). In 1909, Dickerson became one of four founding curators in the Museum’s Department of Herpetology and Ichthyology. Within 10 years, she laid the foundation for a standalone herpetology department, which formed under her direction in 1920.

Delia “Mickie” Akeley, wife of explorer and taxidermist Carl Akeley who conceived the Akeley Hall of African Mammals, was herself an adventurer and artist. She assisted Carl as he perfected a novel method of taxidermy, and collected specimens on several key expeditions to Africa. And it’s a good thing she did—on a trip in 1909, Delia saved Carl’s life after he was attacked by a bull elephant.

Curator of Micropaleontology Angelina Messina found beauty and wonder in some of the Museum’s tiniest specimens. She joined the staff in the 1930s, and with the help of Assistant Curator Eleanor Salmon, prepared catalogs of foraminifera—miniscule organisms that provide important markers to geologists and hold vital records of ancient climates within their fossilized chambers. 

Another trailblazer, anthropologist Margaret Mead, joined the Museum in 1926, at the age of 25, as an assistant curator. Two years later, she published her best-selling book Coming of Age in Samoa, which introduced readers to the value of looking carefully and open-mindedly at other cultures and is still taught in anthropology classrooms.

This March, we’ll be profiling women in science across the Museum, so make sure to follow along on the Museum’s social media channels: @AMNH on Twitter, Instagram, and on Facebook and tumblr.

@praemicavi

          With the promise of a new exhibit opening, the assistant curator has spent more time running out of her office than actually inside it. Trusty clipboard in hand, trusty pen tucked behind her ear, she buzzes about with a bright smile in place, offering greetings to the guests that breeze past her–– until she clips someone in her effort to avoid running into someone else.

         “ Oh my gosh–– I am SO sorry! The pen behind her ear slips free and she all but flails about in her ( totally, definitely not cool looking ) effort to catch it before it falls. And boy, does she fail miserably. Oh, and not only does her pen fall, so does her clipboard. Oh, and would you look at that? There goes her dignity.

80′s AU

He was a mess, but at least he was in one piece, which was more than what he could say of the others he left behind. As broken and bloodied the skin over his knuckles looked, the faces of his enemies were just as terrible. Sasori inhaled and held the breath for four seconds before letting it out on a long, sighing breath that left his lungs feeling sore, but at least the shakes were easing.

Adrenaline made him a monster, and when the fighting was over, it was always a challenge to try and cage the monster again. When he had been younger, he had tired out by the end of the fights and never had to worry about calming his inner demons. But that wasn’t the case now. He was older, stronger, and scarier. Not even Deidara dared to be around him after a fight if Sasori still had energy pent up. Too much destruction followed in his wake.

Sasori looked up at his reflection in the window on the subway car. It wasn’t clear, but the world outside was dark, making his reflection stand out in sharp detail once they left the station. His face was pale as ever, but purple galaxies bloomed underneath the skin above his left cheekbone. His lip was split and there was blood under his nose again. It wasn’t broken though, which was good. He didn’t want to look like Kisame with a famously broken nose or like Kakauza with a terribly scarred face.

“The both of you are such girls,” Kisame had once complained when he caught Sasori and Deidara both in front of a mirror, dressing their hair. Deidara had taken offense and hotly retorted with a pair of raised fingers and a mouthful of curses that would make a priest blush. Sasori didn’t care. He knew the older punk was just sore about how easy it was for Sasori to charm a woman out of her skivvies.  

Sasori leaned back in his seat, stretching out his legs in front of him. He was alone on his car at an hour too early in the morning for most people to bother being awake for. He closed his eyes and sighed again, feeling like a little more control had come back to him.

He was all leather and cotton, as far as his wardrobe was concerned. Like many of the others in his gang of punks, Sasori sported a black leather jacket, but the front of his had been skewered through was two dozen, oversized safety pins, making it gleam under the dirty car lights. His face was bad and his hands worse, but at least he still kept himself dressed well, he thought to himself.

He was an artist, and he refused to let himself be seen as anything less than living art. Even his bruises would serve a purpose. Art was what he lived for, it’s how he justified the horrible man he made of himself.

His reflection blinked and then winked out of existence as the train slowed and eased to a stop outside a brightly lit underground station where the lights were fake and florescent. It was too early in the morning for him to be worried about people stepping on, but the doors opened and he closed his eyes, waiting to hear silence.

Instead the sharp clack of polished heels made his eyes snap open. It was too late for decent folk, so he expected one of the unsavory workers of the night in heels, but when he looked up, that wasn’t what he saw. His mouth went dry.

A woman supple with youth stood across from him, leaning up against the wall with her hands folded in front of her body. She didn’t sit, she didn’t grab the pole handles, and she didn’t brace for the lurch of the train as it pulled away, but all the same she didn’t seem moved b anything.

Draped over the hands she folded in front of her as the folded sides of a white fur coat that stood out in contrast with the deep black of her cocktail dress with the wide boat neck collar that showed off her pale collarbones and the swanlike lines of her neck. Her hair, vibrant and blush colored, curled around one side of her face while the rest was pulled back into a tight bun and held in place with glass beaded pins.

She was exotic in contrast with the grunge of a city subway car at three in the morning, and he couldn’t help but feel like he’d seen her before. Poking out from between the folds of her coat he caught sight of a pamphlet and recognized the cover. It was enough to jog his memory. She was an assistant curator at the Guggenheim. He had seen her once before, but never this closely.

He swallowed, finding his hands shaking for a whole new reason. His fingers itched to touch what he knew he shouldn’t. The lights bloomed around them as the car pulled into another station and he held his breath, praying it wasn’t her stop. She was standing, so it was likely. However, once the doors slid open she lifted her eyes to see the platform and then closed them again, settling back into her corner in silence.

They began to move again and he shifted in his seat, still watching her. She looked up after a moment and blinked, seeing him and meeting his stare. He felt his heart hammer and fisted his hands at his side. Her eyes were wide now, wide, bright, and impossibly green.

“You’re bleeding,” she said, breaking the silence between them.

He hadn’t noticed it, but his nose had begun to bleed again. He touched the top of his lip where red blood pooled before spilling over and cursed. He wiped at his face with the back of his hand, not willing to get any more blood on his jacket than was necessary. If he was capable of it, he was sure he would have blushed.

There was a shadow and he looked up to see the girl right in front of him. One hand was pulled from of the fold she made of her coat and held out a silk napkin to him. He stared at her, saying nothing, doing nothing. He wouldn’t take the offered gift, but he wouldn’t refuse it either.

She made a sound with her teeth and her lips before taking a half step forward and wiping the blood off his face herself. “Men,” she breathed between her painted lips. Her tone was one of exasperation.

“I didn’t ask for help,” he finally said out loud. It came out harsher than he meant it to sound.

“No, you didn’t,” she hummed back, still wiping at his face.”

Sasori scrunched up the skin around his nose and pulled back. “Stop it, you’ll get blood on your coat. I don’t need your help.”

“Clearly not,” She hummed, pulling away and dropping the partly blooded cloth onto his lap. “You’re bruised enough to know how to spoil them.”

“And what is that supposed to mean?” he snapped, harsher than he meant.

She had dropped the cloth but she hadn’t pulled away. She reached out to touch the side of his face, the side with the purple bruise, and the backside of her cool fingers traced a pattern across her cheekbones. He held his breath, afraid it would shatter her if he let it loose.

“You…” he didn’t know what he had wanted to say. All he could manage to get past his lips was the single word. He liked the way she touched him, the feel of her fingertips ghosting across the surface of his face. It nearly shook him how much he wanted it to never end.

“You’re different,” she finally confessed, pulling away. “I’ve never seen you before on my train.”

He shook his face, and wondered if it looked like he wanted to shake away the feeling of her fingers. When he spoke the words came out sounding sharper than he meant them to be. “Oh, this is your train now. I wasn’t aware of the ownership.”

“Every night, always the same time.”

Sakura nodded towards the door and Sasori saw the glowing light that meant another station was coming up. She was looking to this one, and it likely meant she was planning on departing. The fear that dug a pit in his heart told him he didn’t want that.

The train slowed and she pulled her fur coat closer to her chest. “Every night, always the same time,” she repeated, turning to smile at him. “My name is Sakura, by the way.”

‘I’m a mess and you don’t want to get to know me because nothing good will come out of it.’ Sasori wanted to bite out his words and tell her off, to save her from what would inevitably be a mistake on her part, but he just swallowed and nodded.

“Sasori.”

@septemberahead

Here is my entry for @destieldrabblesdaily‘s 30K Fanfic Contest: Personal Space. Also sort of my headcanon of how that particular discussion went down and why Cas - for all his alarming honesty and blunt talk - never told Dean how he really feels.

[The beautiful gif is by @constiellation: if you want to scream into the void a bit, you can go and look at the whole set here.]


“Danny Salzman says it’s okay,” Cas says, appearing out of thin air, and Dean almost has a heart attack and fucking dies.

“Who the fuck is Danny Salzman?” he asks, putting down the razor, and thank God he hadn’t started shaving yet.

“He is -” Dean looks at Cas through the mirror, sees him blink at the room, sees the usual constipated expression around his eyes, because, yeah, it’s like Cas’ always doing this - trying to work out something extremely difficult or something - like he thinks human life is confusing as fuck, even this dingy motel room, and especially Dean, who slept in his clothes and isn’t down for any kind of weirdness, not today. “- was, I should say, a prophet.”

“Wait. So there’s prophets now?”

Cas only looks at him, and Dean shakes his head, a bit of shaving cream falling neatly smack in the middle of the old-fashioned sink.

“And, what - you killed him?”

Dean doesn’t know, or care, who Danny Salzman is and what prophets have to do with anything - there’s enough shit on his plate as it is - but he hasn’t missed the past tense. And he would like to think Cas wouldn’t kill anyone, but, yeah.

“He died in 1986,” Cas says, managing to sound almost offended. “And he was an anthropologist, and assistant curator at the Smithsonian.”

There was a So there at the end of that sentence, Dean’s sure of it.

Goddammit.

“So what was he right about?” he asks, because it’s way too early to figure out how Cas’ mind works and Jesus, he promised he’d meet Bobby in Louisiana six fucking hours from now.

He picks up his razor again, squints at the mirror.

“Personal space,” Cas says from behind him, and, whatever, the little shit’s definitely waited until Dean had started shaving, and now he’s bleeding and -

“What the fuck are you going on about?” he says, more and more bad-tempered.

[keep reading on AO3]

The ‘Lollipop’ Deacon

Revd Jenny Morgans, Assistant Curate in North Lambeth Parish, writes…

Arriving as a new curate in North Lambeth Parish, I was challenged by my training incumbent to come up with an interesting and quirky way to get to know and serve the community. When I decided to be a lollipop lady for a term, I had little idea of what I was letting myself in for.

North Lambeth Parish has a nursery that meets in St Anselm’s church hall, and a Church primary school, Archbishop Sumner. I decided that for the whole Autumn term, I would be a Lollipop Deacon two days a week – mornings outside the nursery and afternoons at the school.

Initially the conversations I had - mainly with parents - were those of surprise or bemusement. Lambeth Council hasn’t funded crossing patrols for many years, so my being there was odd.   I received a lot of smiles, stares, and exclamations, such as “It’s great to see the lollipop ladies are back!” or “You’re the youngest lollipop lady I’ve ever seen!” I was also asked “what are you doing and what is the point?!” I was asked for directions and local information. I also had plenty of “thank-yous”, since the crossings were notorious, especially that
outside the nursery.  The ‘green man’ would last for only 4 seconds, not enough time for anyone to cross the road, let alone little people. Whether the traffic paid attention to the lights at all was another question: one dad said, “we come here three days a week, and each morning a cyclist tries to kill us.” Many people had stories of ‘that time when we were nearly run over here’. The flashing orange light was often understood by drivers as green, rather than as a more time for pedestrians.

As the parents and children got to know me better, and became used to my presence, conversations became more detailed. After leading an assembly in the school dressed in my lollipopping outfit where I had said “If I can be a lollipop lady, you can be whatever you want,” the children not only remembered my name but would repeat back the message: “If you can be a lollipop lady, I can be whatever I want!” Parents became more trusting, with some letting their children walk home from school alone the afternoons they knew I would be there. Older children began to ask me questions – about me, about the church. Some were playful and silly. Others were more serious. I asked a secondary school pupil who passed me regularly why he was crying one day. He did not want to talk to me, but some weeks later got off the bus a few stops early just to talk to me about why he was sad.

Negative reactions were few. A taxi driver shouted out of the window one afternoon: “Stick to being a priest!”. I wanted to say, “I’m not a priest, I’m a deacon, and this is exactly what deacons do!” but I am not sure he was looking for a theological discussion of the deaconate.

Positive reactions were much more common. Drivers of buses and other works vehicles would toot their horns and wave. Cyclists’ faces would change from confusion to recognition to smiles. PCSOs would stop to chat.

I spoke to shy children, waving children, chatty children, singing children, sleepy children, crying children, screaming children, children in fancy-dress or carrying school art projects, children on cycles, balance bikes, scooters, roller blades, in buggies.

Wearing the collar while standing on the roadside for four hours a week also unsurprisingly led to questions about the church, about services, about baptisms, and then later about Christmas services. And about God.

These things I expected.

What I hadn’t expected so much, came about through being a guest in other people’s space. The pelican crossings were a safe environment for engagement and questioning. Just standing in public, being available without being pushy or approaching people, I gave people an opportunity. Waiting for the ‘green man’ also made it time limited – someone could choose whether to miss this one and wait for the next one, but that was their choice. One cold morning, someone I did not recognise bought me a coffee. Another day, somebody said “see, there is a community here”. By allowing myself to be hosted by the community, to let others choose if or how to engage, I was able to demonstrate the church’s presence in the community, and God’s interest in their lives, without forcing the issue. Many brief encounters drew out more than some hour-long pastoral visits People got to know me and told others about me. One child introduced me to his mate as “my friend Jenny”, and one parent told another that I was “the coolest thing around.”

I had not anticipated the effect that all this would have on me.

I don’t like mornings and lollipopping meant having to get up at 6.15am, made even worse as the days grew shorter and colder. I would arrive at the crossing grumpy and tired. Yet I would start to notice the sky changing colour and point it out to people who stopped to chat. I would force myself to smile, and soon I was smiling for real. It seems there is something counter-cultural to smiling at strangers. By Morning Prayer, I had been doing this for an hour and my cheeks often hurt. Soon I felt this was the best way to start the day, smiling at passers-by, and it influenced how I felt for the rest of the day.

In the afternoon, I often had to drag myself from admin or sermon writing. But again, every day, I was so pleased to be there. I realised that this was in many ways the heart of my ministry, the most important place I could be at that time. Lollipopping was the best thing I could be doing - the pelican crossing was where God was, I just needed to catch up.

In mid-December, a devastating and unexpected event shifted the whole mood of the school and the nursery, and so changed the lollipopping. After the death of a young boy at the school, tears at the pelican crossing were common. As were questions. After talking with one small boy, his mum said “Thanks for talking with him, I don’t know what to say to him.” Brief but meaningful chats became even more commonplace – “You’re allowed to be sad”, “Is it ok that I still play?”, “He was my friend,” “Where is he now?”, “Will he have a funeral like Nan?” These were not easy conversations, and lollipopping took on a different meaning – and also took a different toll on me. I was so grateful for the hours I had already spent earning the trust of the community and just being available and known.

One priest I know uses the analogy that strangers in British culture don’t talk to one another unless there’s something out of the ordinary like extreme weather, yet ordained people can behave as if it’s snowing all the time. What did I learn from being a Lollipop Deacon? I learnt that people are longing for snow, and that pelican crossings can be snowy places. What are the snowy places in your parish?


Jenny is taking over the Church of England’s ‘OurCofE’ twitter account starting this monday - follow @ourCofE on twitter for more of her daily deaconing.

2

These two beautiful pieces of concept art by Gustaf Tenggren for Pinocchio are currently on display at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts as part of their current exhibit “Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters.” If you are interested in learning more about the art and life of Gustaf Tenggren, the Assistant Curator of the Children’s Literature Research Collections will be giving a free talk as part of the University of Minnesota Libraries’ First Friday lecture series on Friday, April 7th at noon in Elmer Andersen Library, Room 120. 

Calling all college students! Are you looking for some exciting internship opportunities at the National Archives–but you aren’t in Washington, DC? Apply for a virtual internship from the Virtual Student Foreign Service, and be a part of these great projects:

The Virtual Student Foreign Service (VSFS) is an eInternship program for U.S. citizen students, college-level and above, to work on projects of global importance throughout the U.S. government. 

VSFS eInterns work remotely from their school, apartment, or other locations, reporting by email, phone, or video chat to supervisors at the Department of State, other domestic agencies, or U.S. diplomatic posts abroad. To learn more about VSFS and see a complete list of projects, visit http://vsfs.state.gov/projects

.

F is for Fort de Brégançon

That small island off the French Mediterranean coast is a favorite of Assistant Curator Anunciata von Liechtenstein. Read our interview with her on Tory Daily here.

Anunciata Von Lichtenstein, wearing the Talisay embroidered dress, photographed at home by Billal Taright; stylist: Gianluca Longo; art director: Martina Mondadori Sartogo

xoteria  asked:

Roughly how accurate is Game of Thrones when compared to the Middle Ages in terms of fashion? Some of the fashion of the nobility and royalty reminds me more of almost the Baroque or Classical eras than anything else.

We recently had a panel at the Getty featuring Michele Clapton, costume designer for the first five seasons of Game of Thrones, Deborah Landis, director of the Copley Center for Costume Design at UCLA, and Bryan C. Keene, assistant curator of manuscripts at the Getty, to discuss the series’ medieval aesthetic and the visual sources for her designs.

The full video of the talk is here:

—Bryan