Here, There Be Dragons!

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

(Still keeping with the Hobbit theme…!)

For those living in Middle Earth, this is advice to live by, for none underestimate the unparallelled strength and destructive flames of a dragon. But what about the rest of us who don’t have a dragon living in our midst? Do we still need to worry about them? You bet we do!

Our world is filled with dragons, they just aren’t always the fire-breathing types. Some use gusts of wind. Others use water. More still use more nefarious means of destruction, such as illness and weaponry.

Yep. Dragons do exist in the museum world-only, we know them to be called natural disasters, medical emergencies, and other threats to people or collections. They aren’t always seen, they aren’t always heard, but they are there sleeping soundly and awaiting until we least expect them to strike. Most museums and historic sites do plan for dragons. However, even the most well-constructed and reviewed plans can crumble under pressure.

Ah yes. I do believe today is a fine day for an earthquake.

MCCD, too, has a thick binder of dragon prevention and management techniques. It is reviewed often and each new employee must give it the once (or twice) over and be knowledgeable of procedures. A safety committee meets once a month to discuss potential safety hazards. It seems like here at MCCD we are pretty well-prepared for the most fearsome of beasts!

Well, dragons are tricky, remember? Some recent vandals and shady characters around the MCCD’s five sites, and specifically Homestead Prairie Farm, have reiterated that planning doesn’t prevent every dragon. As a result, the safety committee has been meeting more often and new changes are in place.

I’ve been a part of some new plannings for Homestead Prairie Farm and have established areas of need for increased safety of staff, volunteers, visitors, and the farm itself. They include:

  • increased lines of communication between the farm and Nature Center
  • guestbook sign-in for ALL visitors
  • keeping visuals on all exits at all times (we only have an alarm system only w/o video surveillance)
  • buddy system for all staff or volunteers while working at the farm
  • carrying radio and farm cell-phone on your person at ALL times
  • inventory home items regularly
  • Look for signs of leaks or animals each day farm is open
  • be knowledgeable of where fire extinguishers and first aid kits are located
  • keep up-to-date on all fire, weather, and emergency procedures

I believe that including these plans into the already scheduled policies should further aid in handling dangerous situations.

On a MUCH different sort of planning note-

This summer’s camps have come to an end and I have set to task planning future history camps for the summers of 2016 and 2017. I have learned a great deal about creating meaningful, fun, interactive, and educational curriculum this summer. I find that I quite enjoy handling educational aspects and am certainly using up the resources Dr. Laughlin- Shcultz gave us on state standards. I’ve also been utilizing my marketing skills and have written several press releases and flyers advertizing upcoming history programs.

My boss, a maintenance man, and I are additionally in the process of restoring the outside of the Homestead Prairie Farm and an outhouse. We got the outhouse primed and ready for paint last week!

IMG_4730

P.S. Look who stopped by…

Raccoon at HPF 2Raccoon at HPF

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