Styrofoam “spheres” and other musings…

Another jam-packed day of learning and reflecting on many levels. I’m left with a mind brimming, ready to stew and process. I feel a little like I did eight months ago, first entering this park, digesting fibers of new knowledge every day, spinning those fibers into my own stories, weaving my own interpretive webs to snag the curiosity of visitors. This week has been all technology and bats and interpretive methods, excitement and anxiety and wonder and revelation. But you all already knew that.

Today was our field day, and I am struck by how much I personally need involvement in order to learn. Whether setting up spheres or dancing with the laser, I needed today’s active participation in order to truly understand. There’s something to be said about knowing the whys, about having the opportunity to ask a question as soon as it hits, about touching and seeing and hearing all at once. It was just an added bonus that I was assisting in new data collection! How cool is that… to be exposed to a technology for the first time in such a relevant context. So completely different than even “playing” with the laser in our classroom. Dr. Nick’s short side note about the importance of play comes to the forefront right now, especially after spending the latter portion of today playing around with Keynote. Just being set loose in an activity to familiarize on your own terms… I’m reminded about why I so love getting lost on a road trip. It’s always through getting lost that I find my truest way.

Sometimes I have flashbacks to my career before interpretation, when I worked in event lighting. Continuously, I was thrown together with technicians I may have never met before and expected to make a stunning end product within a few hours. A lesson in group dynamics, that’s for sure. This week, we CAVE folks have been working together in a different context, and today we interned in science together. I felt our group dynamic, the fluctuations throughout the time spent, and I now ponder my upcoming program. Just as I need active experience to truly understand, some visitors may need a similar level of participation to truly connect with a resource. Perhaps studying images with a critical eye is just the trick. And if there’s a moment of silence, a moment both interpreter and visitor are questioning together, inspecting together, enjoying together… Perhaps such a shared exercise will bring another level of connection? Not to mention such a celebration of process… I’m sure you’ve all heard that sometimes the journey is more important than the destination, eh?

One last thought. I valued the interpretive moments I had during our field work. Each time I discussed long-range laser scanning, I felt my tactics changing. Martha, thank you for the immediate feedback and suggestions. On-the-spot program development… how exhilarating! And visitors were so receptive! Yes, Jenn, they’re all gonna be our friends when we roll out that 60” flat screen!

Now… back to my fiber-spinning and web-weaving…

2 thoughts on “Styrofoam “spheres” and other musings…

  1. Christina, I like how you mentioned a moment of silence as a way of bringing a group together. Shared experiences don’t always have to be in-your-face, tangible events. Even in silence, there can be a sense of solidarity with others, as we all ponder together an idea or image. As interpreters, let’s not be afraid of silence. It isn’t necessarily dead air, after all.

    (pointing to head) not just a flat hat rack, my friends,


  2. It was a pleasure to have you all as our field assistants. I have never worked with a group so quick to pick up on the work-flow. I am really glad we brought the iPad into the cave and gave you all a chance to practice what we have been going over this week with regards to laser scanning. I’m glad it sounds like you had as much fun as we did.


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