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Monday, August 21, 2006

Unaccustomed excitement at the Museum

Part of our at-home mini-vacation (more on that later) was an all-too-rare visit to Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, all-too-rare since we’re members and ought to be taking more advantage of that opportunity. Anyway, we wanted to see the Americans in Paris exhibit, so that prompted us to go to the MFA. And we indeed enjoyed both the paintings themselves and the contextual information about the artists. When we are about 90% of the way through the exhibit, and all was well...suddenly...

A loud siren went off, and a voice on the PA system said that there was an emergency and everyone was to leave the building immediately by the nearest exit. No explanation, nothing but repeats of the message over and over again. There were a lot of foreign visitors, many of whom were understandably confused. We got to the escalators, with a couple of hundred people ahead of us, and noticed that everyone was slowly lined up waiting patiently for the down escalator, while the up escalator was dutifully carrying nobody on its way upstairs. So we promptly pushed the red stop button and walked down, followed by half of other guests. Why didn’t anyone else think of that?

Outside we found that most people were clustered all too close to the building. What if it was a real fire? Well, the building looks pretty fire-proof. But what if there was a bomb? Surely standing fifty feet from the building wouldn’t be good enough. And then a fire truck appeared. And another. And another. But still there were people standing right in the fire lane!

By time we gave up and left, six fire trucks had arrived, including a hook and ladder. One firefighter rapidly ascended the ladder onto the roof of the museum, axe out in his hand, and promptly disappeared.

Oddly enough, I could find no follow-up anywhere. So what really happened?

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