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Saverio Truglia

How Emily Graslie is Reinventing Museum Education

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Saverio Truglia

By Emily Graslie, as told to Regan Hofmann

When Emily Graslie, 26, started The Brain Scoop, she was just hoping to find a few like-minded Tumblr readers to share her love of taxidermy. Five years later, she has 300,000 rabid fans tuning in to YouTube to watch her explain everything from millipede reproduction to specimen dissection. Here, Graslie tells us how she became the first-ever chief curiosity correspondent for Chicago’s Field Museum, where she’s tasked with introducing natural history to a new generation.

I was always an “outside” kid. I wanted to make epic paintings about the natural world, so I declared my art major my first day at the University of Montana. I was surrounded by natural beauty, and knew it was a resource we were losing.

My coworker at the campus store showed me the natural history collection at the university’s zoological museum—it blew me away. There were volunteers skinning rodents, and she asked, “Can Emily do one?” I was like, “I’m not trained to do this.”

She said, “If you can sew a stuffed animal like in home ec, you can skin a mouse.” It was true! I got to sign my name on the label, the same way you might sign a piece of artwork.

I started volunteering at the museum and painting portraits of specimens. But oil paint takes so long to dry, so I started doing photography, posting photos on Tumblr and hoping I’d find others like me. And I did! I met Hank Green of Vlogbrothers, which is huge on YouTube, and he asked if I’d be interested in having my own show. That show, The Brain Scoop, has just passed 300,000 subscribers. In April 2013, we had a meet-up at Chicago’s Field Museum, and 100 fans came. The museum’s president told the head of collections they needed to hire me. Now our videos are produced there.

I could keep making videos where we open a specimen drawer and go, “How cool!”—or we can work to secure funding for scientists. A curator at the Field Museum needed evidence that his research would reach the public to win a National Science Foundation grant, so he asked if we could do a series. We got the grant!

I’ve also become an activist, opening up the conversation about how to keep women and minorities in the sciences. I want to tell more cool stories—I just don’t know what form they’ll take next.

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Little Baby's Ice Cream
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Food
Pizza and Cricket Cake Are Just Some of the Odd Flavors You'll Find at This Philadelphia Ice Cream Shop
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Little Baby's Ice Cream

Ice cream flavors can get pretty out-there, thanks to the growing number of creative scoop shops willing to take risks and broaden their customers’ horizons beyond chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Intrepid foodies can cool off with frozen treats that taste like horseradish, foie gras, and avocado, while Philadelphia's Little Baby’s Ice Cream is pushing the boundaries of taste with chilly offerings like everything bagel, Maryland BBQ, ranch, and cricket cake.

Cricket-flavored ice cream, created by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

Everything Bagel-flavored ice cream, created by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

As Lonely Planet News reports, Little Baby’s Ice Cream launched its first signature “oddball” ice cream—Earl Grey sriracha—in 2011. Since then, its rotating menu has only gotten quirkier. In addition to the aforementioned flavors, customers who swing by Little Baby’s this summer can even try pizza ice cream.

The store created the savory flavor in 2011, to celebrate neighborhood eatery Pizza Brain’s inclusion into Guinness World Records for its vast collection of pizza memorabilia. The savory, Italian-esque snack is made from ingredients like tomato, basil, oregano, salt, and garlic—and yes, it actually tastes like pizza, Little Baby’s co-owner Pete Angevine told Lonely Planet News.

Pizza-flavored ice cream, made by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

“Frequently, folks will see it on the menu and be incredulous, then be convinced to taste it, giggle, talk about how surprised they are that it really tastes just like pizza … and then order something else,” Angevine said. “That’s just fine. Just as often though, they’ll end up getting a pizza milkshake!”

Little Baby’s flagship location is in Philadelphia's East Kensington neighborhood, but customers can also sample their unconventional goods at additional outposts in West Philadelphia, Baltimore, and a pop-up stand in Washington, D.C.’s Union Market. Just make sure to bring along a sense of adventure, and to leave your preconceived notions of what ice cream should taste like at home.

[h/t Lonely Planet]

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Warby Parker
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Space
Warby Parker Is Giving Away Free Eclipse Glasses in August
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Warby Parker

When this year’s rare “all-American” total solar eclipse comes around on August 21, you’ll want to be prepared. Whether you’re chasing the eclipse to Kentucky or viewing it from your backyard, you’ll need a way to watch it safely. That means an eclipse filter over your telescope, or specially designed eclipse glasses.

For the latter, you can just show up at your nearest Warby Parker, and their eye experts will hand over a pair of eclipse glasses. The stores are giving out the free eye protectors throughout August. The company’s Nashville store is also having an eclipse party to view the celestial event on the day-of.

Get your glasses early, because you don’t want to miss out on this eclipse, which will cross the continental U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina. There are only so many total solar eclipses you’ll get to see in your lifetime, after all.

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