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MAH Battle Wounds: Pounded, Attacked, & NerdFighting

Posted by on January 25, 2013

The Visitor Services team is excited to share our visitor encounters from the front desk. We are (in no particular order) Mary Kopp, Sarah Groh, Katie Chrivia, Kai Hanson and Diana Kapsner. You will occasionally see a visitor encounter from some museum interns and volunteers as well.

Friday, January 4th


The night I was in charge of the barn raising on the third floor, I met a ten-year-old named Taylor. He came in with his grandmother for First Friday (as they apparently do very often) and he was fascinated by the wooden structure within the small gallery. As he approached, I held out a mallet and told him to pick a peg and try to hit it off of the barn. His eyes lit up and he instantly took up the task. It’s amazing how fun it is to hammer things you don’t think you’re allowed to, and for Taylor, it made his night. He asked to do it again, and this time I whispered that with a little extra oomph, he could make the pegs pop out. With this goal, he gave it all he had and sent the peg flying across the room! Not quite what I had in mind, but so mesmerizing to him that he stayed with me for the rest of the night, pounding on more pegs and even helping other people (like the boy and his father pictured here) learn about the joy of using a mallet. Thank you, Taylor!

Kaelle Allen, MAH Volunteer


Saturday, January 5th


On a breezy afternoon in Santa Cruz, Jim came into the MAH filled with whims to lift our spirits. I knew we were in for a treat when he struggled with all his might to open the MAH’s atrium door from the outside courtyard, but was unable to enter. I was pretty sure I had unlocked the door. He then swiftly opened the door for his lady friend by removing his wedged foot to which he
was struggling against. Ha! Later, Jim excitedly asked us “Hey, what am I?” Diana and I were at a loss.

“Guess what I am.”

Jim next yelled out, “I am under attack. Get it?” Pointing up, he repeated, “I am under a tack!”

Thanks Jim for being a force of greatness.

Mary Kopp


Tuesday, January 15th

“Don’t Forget To Be Awesome”

Two teenage boys came in specifically to be Ze Frank’s exhibit. They were hard to miss, wearing bright red shirts with the word “PIZZA” underneath a stenciled man’s face. Curious, I asked them what it was about. They kind of looked at me and paused. One of them hesitantly reached in his pocket to pull out a note. He looks to his friend, to which he nods his head in assurance. Awkwardly, they gave me the note and set off to see the Ze Frank exhibit. The note read:


Nerdfighter?! Well, I’m glad there wasn’t anything to be worried about, but I was intrigued. When they were leaving, I asked them what this was about, to which they replied “It’s about ending World Suck. You should watch the videos.” I told them I would, but only if they came to Ze Frank weekend.

Sure enough they came and although I didn’t get to talk to them again, I discovered how awesome all of Ze Frank’s fans are. Nina captures the spirit of the entire event very well in her blog post.

As I was closing the museum the day I met them, I found this on the activity don't forget to be awesometable in the Ze Frank gallery. It felt like a clue; like they left it here for me to find.

It wasn’t until weeks later I used my highly developed research skills to look “FTL! DFTBA” up. Apparently it means “French the Llama! Don’t Forget To Be Awesome.” I’m still trying to figure out the first part. My advanced Google search skills also allowed me to  look up the definition of Nerdfighter on Urban Dictionary:

“A Nerdfighter is a person who is proud to be nerdy and intelligent, and who fights to decrease WorldSuck. Nerdfighters are not composed of cells and tissue, but instead made entirely of awesome. Nerdfighters are known to perform their Happy dances when they are joyful… are diverse in their hobbies… have also been described as someone who is ‘Outgoing, intelligent and awesome enough to accept nerd as a compliment’. The polar opposite of a Nerdfighter is a Decepticon.”

I’m proud to say that I am a Nerdfighter. Thanks to those 2 guys and all Ze Frank participants for giving me something to fight for!

Diana Kapsner