I'm A Museum Person

I’m A Museum Person: SUE the T-Rex

Quite possibly the coolest T-Rex that ever roamed the earth.

My name is Specimen FMNH PR2081, and I’m a Museum Person.

Tell us about yourself.

Well, I’m a Tyrannosaurus rex who roamed the upper portion of the North American continent back when it was a tropical paradise (around the late Cretaceous). I lived to be 29 (old for my species), until I passed away. Scientists debate if this was caused by old age, arthritic gout, or some strange infection, but I like to tell everyone “Meteor Strike” because it sounds cool, and I’m trying to raise awareness of things falling from the sky, which is my greatest fear. After my passing, I was covered in sediment, gradually fossilized over the course of millions of years, trapped under glaciers during the ice age, and eventually discovered by my most favoritest mammals of all time: Sue Hendrickson and her dog Gypsy while they were waiting for their team to fix a flat tire. There was a bunch of other stuff that happened, and next thing I know, I’m here at The Field Museum in Chicago.

Why do museums matter to you?

I live in one! And I have twins that travel to several others on my never-ending world tour!

But if I could get serious for a second Ms. Museumist (can I call you “Mew”?) museums are important because you puny humans are always discovering new and exciting things about the past, how it relates to the present, and how you can apply this knowledge for the future. It’s easy to just slap up a blog post about something, tweet a short thing and hope someone will find it interesting, or even print it on a fancy glossy page in a book or a magazine, but it’s not until you come face to face with something, for instance history’s greatest and most beautiful apex predator (cough), that you really begin to appreciate it.

And another thing that makes it special to be here at The Field Museum: These folks aren’t just about helping the people who come in our doors learn something new, they also send scientists out into the field to explore the planet, and find news things humans didn’t know about before. As a dinosaur with a cantaloupe sized brain, I’m jealous

What is your favorite museum memory?

That’s easy. My Field Museum unveiling in May 2000.

What is your dream museum job?

I already got it. Sorry. (fist pump)

When you think of the perfect exhibit, what is in it?

My 10th anniversary at The Field Museum was pretty sweet. Maybe for the 20th, we can clone me and have everyone get T.rex rides around Chicago. Wait, on second thought, I would probably not like that. Plus, I’m prone to “rampages.”

Photo by Bert Kaufmann via Flickr.

Who is the funnier museum twitterer…you or @NatHistoryWhale?

Is this some sort of joke? I love @NatHistoryWhale! Why are you trying to get us mad at each other? He’s just sitting up there, minding his own business, softly singing whale songs. Why do you have to make this competitive? Besides, I don’t like seafood. Grew up in South Dakota. Not a place to develop a taste for “whale.”

What is the most random item you have bought in a museum gift shop?

This package of green beans from The Field Museum store. LOL! I’m a carnivore! What am I going to do with BEANS! Hahaha!

(deep breath)

Enough joking around. Where’s my order of ribs for lunch?

Photo by thebittenword.com via Flickr.

To test your museum knowledge, which cities are the following museums in?

  • The High Museum of Art – Inside the basket of a hot air balloon?
  • The Experience Music Project – Let’s see… Jimi Hendrix made “Are You Experienced?” and he’s from Seattle, so… Seattle? I hope they have a big Sir Mix-A-Lot exhibit. He’s from Seattle too.
  • Musee de la Civilasation – Oh, I loved that video game “Civilization!” It must be huge in France! Or Quebec. Or maybe New Orleans? Where else do people speak French… and love classic turn based strategy games?
  • Courtauld Gallery – This sounds like a place those snooty Velociraptors would go to. (Shakes fist) Oh, Velociraptors! They think they’re just the bee’s knees because they’re smart and can open doorknobs!
  • Kuntskammer – I would pay good money to hear a hadrosaur pronounce this. It would probably sound like Donald Duck burnt the roof of his mouth eating chili.

What museum would you move into for a month if you could?

Besides this one? Um, maybe the aforementioned (and totally imaginary) Museum of Meat? I would spend AT LEAST three hours in the “Hall of Bacon.”

Out of all the museums you have visited so far, which one is your favorite?

If I was forced to choose anything besides The Field Museum? There’s so many of them. Costa Rica was nice. The Scientific Center in Kuwait City was really friendly. And I can’t tell you how accommodating the folks at the Nova Scotia Museum have been these last couple of months. But my homecoming visit to the Faith Community Center on Highway 212 in Faith, SD in 2008 was very special.

What is the most bizarre museum you have ever visited?

In just the last couple of years, I’ve had to play host to pirates, baby mammoths, the White Sox World Series trophy, and lately, horses—what I’m saying is The Field Museum can get bizarre enough. But in my adopted home city of Chicago alone, we’ve got museums for historical medical equipment and holography. Plenty of bizarre to go around.

Photo by puroticorico via Flickr.


Thanks to SUE for sharing her experiences. If you’re interested in participating in the “I’m A Museum Person” series, send us an email at editor@museumist.com, and we’ll get your story up on the site.

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