Spiders and science, oh my
I never imagined myself spending my summer break handling rose-haired tarantulas or telling stories about the ancient Egyptian mummification process, but then I took the opportunity to volunteer at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
Before I started volunteering, I was deathly afraid of bugs and tiny colorful animals. As my time in the museum continued, though, I became very fond of them. While volunteering, I learned countless facts about the different fields of science such as paleontology, life sciences, physics, ancient history, and more. I was then able to share all that I learned with others in the museum.
The teen volunteer program at the Museum allowed me and eight others to provide guidance to guests at the museum. This led me to connect with people in a way I was never able to before. I began to share stories of King Tut’s phony curse and how the very first moving picture came to be. I was able to experience the shock on children’s faces when they found out how people in ancient Egypt were mummified, and the intrigue on adults’ faces when they would hear about space travel or cosmology. People also shared information and their own personal experiences with me as we walked around the museum, which changed my perspective on science entirely.
Not only did I expand my knowledge, but I was also able to overcome my fear of bugs and spiders. At first, I would watch from afar as the docents would carry the cockroaches and shine a UV light on a Chilean scorpion. After a few short weeks, I began to handle the hissing cockroaches, large millipedes, and the infamous rose-haired tarantula. I was even able to help others overcome their fears by showing them how to interact with the creatures. Soon enough I had grown more accustomed to bugs and other creatures in nature and more appreciative of the beauty of nature.
Volunteering at the Museum of Natural Science was an enriching experience for me. Getting to interact with other volunteers and supervisors, share laughs with the guests, and explore the exhibits in the museum became a monumental part of my summer.
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