Juli’s Big Move

Madison Ave entrance to the National Museum of Natural History

A nice place to work

I know, I know, I’ve been terribly remiss with my blogging this year… but I have an excuse! Or what I pretend is an excuse and that should be good enough. It all started back in January, with an email from my old exhibit strategies professor, telling me I should apply for a particular job. Two interviews and about 5 months later, I got the thumbs up: I’d be starting work as an exhibits writer at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

So what was I doing between January and July to account for my deplorable dearth of updates. Well, for starters I was blogging. Just not here. Look, here’s proof! See, while I was working at the University of Wyoming Geological Museum, laboring away making murals for dioramas, we decided it would be fun and good for posterity to document the process. And so “uwyodioramas.wordpress.com” was born. Illustrator and painting on real canvases took up the bulk of my time, but there was the periodic spate of blogging once another step of the diorama process was completed.

Slowly, that job as “museum artist” began to morph into something more, though I’m still not entirely sure what it turned into. Social media was involved, and exhibit design, and then comic book production (more on that in a bit). At the very end, we threw together an exhibit AND an event — on a shoe-string budget and in three weeks — about Jurassic Park. And then it was time for me to pack up and go be a for-realz writer. Which apparently means not only writing exhibit scripts, but also writing EVEN MORE blogs (this time for the NMNH)!

Ok, to properly describe what these new blog posts are about, I have to take you back a step. My job at the NMNH is as an exhibits writer/editor, and I work on a team with four other people. Though we all work on a variety of exhibits, both temporary and permanent, the main reason they hired me and another writer was to help with a HUGE exhibition renovation. Essentially, we are re-doing all of our fossils halls, updating the architecture, the specimens, and of course the content in order to tell the story of deep time. Once the exhibit’s open, you’ll be able to explore the forces that have shaped our present world (you know, evolution, earth processes, climate change, all the best things), and how our current actions impact the future. Right now we’re calling it the “Deep Time” project, and it’s flipping awesome, and I’m not just saying that because I got to go on a fossil dig as part of it. Yup, 2 weeks into my job, I packed a bag and joined the curators and the rest of the exhibits team in Marmarth, North Dakota to find some late Cretaceous fossils. You can read all about it on the NMNH blog, since we’ll be rolling out those posts over the next few weeks. Start with this one: http://nmnh.typepad.com/100years/2013/08/this-is-big.html. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Ok, pretty cool, no? Yes. Yes it is. I’ll be updating this here blog with those stories as they come out, and now that I’m in a city that’s essentially built of museums, I’ll do my best to get some more reviews up.

* * *

Oh, comics! The always delightful Mark Clementz and I are working on a comic on whale evolution! It’s my first comic (the first one that will ever be finished, at least), and I’m excited about it. We already have the script, and rough layout drafts of almost all the pages. Characters have been sketched, and now I’m waiting for feedback from paleontologists to tell me if my postures are way off base. Stay tuned!

Juliana's office

Welcome to my lair. The picture on the door is figure 1 from the best scientific paper ever written.


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