Empty. Vacant. Desolate. Deserted. Abandoned. That was the museum yesterday.
There was not a single phone call. Not a single visitor. The place practically echoed. It was very unusual and strange. Especially when compared to last week which was overloaded with guests! I would barely get through my opening spiel when other folks would come in the door and then others and then more and more and...give me a break people! HAH! After awhile the lobby felt a little like a clown car and I had to actually put a limit on how many people could, safely and masked, be in the lobby at one time. The new rule only held folks up for a few minutes outside but current circumstances require at least a few protective parameters.
Last week, we had guests from all over this country, most of them visiting the museum for the first time. They are almost always smiling and relaxed and excited to learn about the history of Venice. I am always tickled to bits to welcome folks and answer their questions. Not everyone wants a guided tour - and that is perfectly fine - but for the ones who do wish for it, I am delighted to show them around.
I like hearing about where they are from and telling them about not just the town we live in but the entire state of Florida. It's a pleasure to make suggestions of places to eat and fun things to do in the area. At times it's a little hectic. When I'm the only person there and we have mega visitors plus the phones plus the constant Covid related cleaning plus the gift shop plus whatever else is going on! Yeah it gets a little crazy sometimes.
But I vastly prefer Crazy Days to the Big Empty.
Good thing I brought a book. I always bring a book. Yesterday it was an entire museum shift of just sitting and reading. Which meant the time flew by of course but still...very strange. My footsteps sounded so loud. Heck turning pages sounded loud! I kept thinking...are we open? Has the town been evacuated? Am I in the middle of a Twilight Zone episode?
I've noticed a few different things this year at the museum. First of all, suddenly, most of our guests are newly arrived residents to the area as opposed to tourists. What? Yeah, it's true. So far this year easily 75% of the people who walk through our door have moved to the general vicinity during the pandemic from somewhere else! The second thing is more age range. A lot of the newbies are younger people. Up until now Venice Island was primarily populated with jus old folks. But now, we have young families, newly wed couples, some middle agers with older kiddos and of course some retirees too. But that is a new balance and I like it!
This 75/25 split will probably change as the snowbird season/high tourist season arrives in the winter but for now, it is just new and different and a very good thing. New blood, new energy, new ideas! Things need to get shaken up now and again or else the area will get stagnant and stodgy with no spark! Gotta liven it up and make it exciting and new again.
Maybe that's one of the reason I enjoy working at the museum. Because everything I am telling and showing people is new to them, it becomes new again to me too. I get to see it all over again through their eyes, through the lens of their life experiences. It helps me to appreciate our town and fall in love with it all over again every single day.
Hopefully yesterday's empty museum was an aberration and not a new trend. That would break my heart. I suppose time will tell. And in the meantime, at least I got to read my book. The entire book. Cover to Cover. Sigh. I guess I had better get my butt to the library for more books. I have no idea if next week's Museum Day will be feast or famine. Hence the book. Once everything in the museum is clean, all of the pamphlet racks are filled, emails are answered, new bulletins read and old bulletins reviewed and the displays activated and operational, if nobody comes in what on earth would you do?
Book. Always bring a Book.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.