THE SCIENTIST IS IN
This can be a new experience for scientists who are often more comfortable presenting scientific talks to their peers. The interactions with the public are informal and spontaneous. One needs to be prepared for not only all ages and varying levels of interest, knowledge and understanding but also for letting visitors take the lead in asking questions. Since personal contact time is limited and we won’t be interacting with these individuals again, we try to refer them to related exhibits in the museum and to relevant NMNH websites. Visitors benefit because they are taking the initiative to find out more about a topic on their own. The public frequently gives positive feedback about the opportunity to meet research scientists and handle items they would not normally be allowed to touch in the museum. Some scientists include a brief video of field work. Specific examples will be given relating to a cart developed by the authors which contains Holocene and fossil mollusks.