From the Museum Attendant

2008-09-15 14:36:23.000 – Sharon Nothnagle,  Summit Museum Attendant

My Home in the Summer

As I woke up this morning, I was aware of the howling of high winds outside my bedroom window. We had hoped, after venturing out in the winds last night (I am on the left), that the morning winds would fulfill our expectations, and they certainly did! It’s always fun to go out in the big winds and, this time, the temperature was unseasonably warm (in the 50’s). At around 8:00 AM, one of our volunteers, Melissa, and I went up the tower to the parapet and then came down and walked from the tower, across the observation deck, and in the building’s front door. The winds were sustained at around 82 MPH, with gusts to 92.6 while we were out—a refreshing and energizing start to the day!n

nI am the Observatory’s summit museum attendant on this shift. This is my third season in this position (and the first time I’ve written this column). While our observers work on shift year-round, my job is seasonal—from mid-May through mid-October while the building is open and accessible to the public. My responsibilities are to run the Observatory’s gift shop and museum—selling merchandise and keeping both the shop and the museum clean, well-stocked, and attractive. I have help, at busy times and to give me breaks, from our interns and to help with many “behind the scenes” tasks from willing volunteers. My hours are long but the rewards are great!n

nMany of you have visited our museum and store on the summit. If you haven’t been up for a couple of years or more, you would find a number of changes. Most of the credit for our improved and enlarged store, with its more appealing presentation of merchandise, goes to our retail manager, Bill Grenfell, who came on board with the Observatory half-way through my first season, in 2006. His suggestions were also implemented to make the museum more interesting, with a better use of space and the addition of the weather wall. John Mitchell worked long hours before we opened in 2007 to make this new floor plan a reality, moving some exhibits and re-building the museum entrance in its new location.n

nI enjoy being part of the summit “family.” We are a close-knit group, living together for our shifts, along with Marty, our kitty-mascot. Evenings, after supper, find us watching DVD movies, playing board or card games, or just talking. Our little family includes the observers, interns, one or two volunteers, and me.n

nMy season will end after a few more shifts. I will spend the off-season in the valley, gazing up at the summit of the mountain with a degree of home-sickness. I feel privileged to be part of the Observatory team!


Sharon Nothnagle,  Summit Museum Attendant

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