“Our contest is definitely a dare,” said executive director Lauren Bloemsma of the idea inspired by the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry's Month at the Museum contest, in which the museum finds a “roommate” to help promote it, by living there and blogging about the experience.
The winner of Sleeping with History will receive $500, a weekend stay at the museum (September 23-25), and an opportunity to host two private dinner parties and a public movie screening. In return, the winner will provide the museum with content – blogs, videos, interviews and tours – that the museum can use for promotions. The goal: to show “Museums are just plain fun,” said Bloemsma.
The contest coincides with the 100th anniversary of the death of Smuggler Mine shift boss Richard Trimbath, who died at the museum from injuries sustained in a rock fall while it was still Hall’s Hospital, a story the museum intends to highlight in its new exhibit, Hard Rocks, Rough Lives.
“It's impossible to say how many people were treated here, but we can imagine the ward was nearly always full during the mining heyday,” said Bloemsma.
When museum goers head home, the contest winner will settle in for the evening(s).
“We want our guest to be as comfortable as possible during the waking hours,” said Bloemsma. As for what happens in the middle of the night? “We all want to know!”
Bloemsma, who has worked at the Museum since 2005, is the only current staff member to have experienced anything unusual on that front.
“I heard a noise. I knew I was alone in the building, but I definitely heard a noise,” she said of her possibly-paranormal experience, and headed to the museum's second floor to investigate. There, the pedal of the treadle sewing machine on display at the time was just coming to a stop. “It was as if my grandmother had just stepped away from the sewing machine. I felt oddly at home,” she said.
In celebration of National Museum Day and the contest, the museum will offer free admission throughout the weekend of the winner's stay, in addition to special ticketed events hosted by the winner.
Applications, due by September 5, must include a 60-second video describing how entrants would spend their weekend at the museum, with content demonstrating their knowledge of regional history, and a 500-word essay about why they're the best person for the job. Entrants must be 18 years or older and eligible to receive compensation in the United States. An expert panel will decide the winner, who will be announced September 12.
For more information and to download the link at telluridemuseum.org.