Thanks for your comments, both about museums and elephants. I am grateful for your feedback.
Stacey - it's always good to find a museum you can visit more than once, that offers such a positive experience you're willing to go back again and again. If I'm ever in Oregon I'll be sure to look that one up!
Anonymous - I too can be a 'skimmer'! Sometimes that's the only way to make your way through the overwhelmingness. It's all part of what my mom calls 'museum speed'. Everyone has different speeds for different museums and days.
Oldqueen - I love the expensive naps idea. Espeically if your home doesn't have airconditioning - museums are cool and usually a lot quieter than the movies!
Jeana - I have long suspected your perfection.
Holymama - Yeah, I knew that elephants could freak some people out, although now I'm working on a theory that you and your boys have a sort of shared genetic anti-elephant thing going on, since you all seem to share it! We just need to ask Baby Seth what his opinion is. I'm sure he has one.
The Bass Player's Wife - Nope, not Dumbo. Her name is Mollie. And she was famous in Boston in the first half of the 20th century. She has a great story - which I'll tell some day! - which would definitely be part of her display, were she ever to make a public return.
Frazzled Farm Wife - Amen to knowledge and learning!
Kittyhox - We're on the same page - ivory and taxidermy-wise. I was trying to find another way to say that and came up with the adverb 'taxidermily'. Not sure how else to use it, but I admit I kind of like it.
Jeana - You know, it's funny how far removed we all are from taxidermy these days, given how incredibly common it was not that long ago. It doesn't surprise me that it took a while to realize that the Field Museum was full of 'real' animals - we're just not in a taxidermy age. When I do programs with taxidermied animals here at the museum, kids have a hard time figuring out what it is. "Is it real?" Yes. "Is it alive?" No. "Is it fake?" No. "Is it dead?" Yes. "Was it alive?" Yes. We usually have to repeat all of those a few times before I can explain how taxidermy works and what its results look like. It's definitely a concept that lots of people (kids and adults) find puzzling. There was a great special on the History channel a few months ago, all about the technology of taxidermy. Surprisingly fascinating (she said, trying not to sound like a big dork). Really.