Sprechen Sie Deutsch?
At a conversational level, yes. I have a Bachelor of Arts from Washington State University in German Language Studies. I lived in Bonn from 2004 to 2005 as an exchange student.

Ich kann auf Deutsch sprechen, aber mein schriftliches Deutsch ist immer schlimmer. Desshalb ist am meistens dieses Blog auf Englisch. Aber wenn Sie fragen haben, könnten Sie mir gerne auf Deutsch schreiben!

What does a binomial have to do with museums?
Binomials are usually used in math, but in grammar its used as a binomial pair, whereby two words are joined together and used in a pretty set way. Like cease and desistknife and forkmore or less, and rock and roll. I felt this was appropriate, as I work, live, and think in two languages and two countries.

What are you doing, exactly?
I am funded by the International Museum Fellowship Programme of the German Federal Cultural Foundation, to work in collaboration with terra mineralia, a museum in Freiberg, Germany. I am designing and implementing a special exhibit called “CSI: Freiberg. Ein Mordfall in der terra mineralia” or “CSI: Freiberg. A Murder at terra mineralia.”

This exhibit focuses on teaching the rare earth elements through the murder mystery of Prof. Bauer, a (fake) now-deceased profressor at the Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg. Through different stations and an immersive experience, visitors will come and play as detectives, trying to figure out who killed her while learning all there is to know about the rare earth elements.

What are the rare earth elements?
This is a question many people ask. The rare earth elements (REE) are the 15 elements of the lanthanide series on the periodic table (one of the rows always on the bottom) plus scandium and yttrium. The REE are in every electronic device you own: cellphones, tablet computers, TVs, DVD players. They are also used in all forms of “green” energy, and many of them are found in medical or military uses.

This infographic is a great visual resource from vouchercloud.com showing the who, what, where and why of the REE. Es gibt auch eine Deutsche Version hier (Quelle: vouchercloud.de).

Where are you from?
I grew up in Washington State. Before coming to Germany, I spent almost 5 years in Seattle, Washington in the beloved Pacific Northwest. I have never seen Bigfoot, but I keep hoping.

Is this your first exhibit?
Nope! My Master’s project was an exhibit that I did with the Klondike Goldrush National Historical Park – Seattle Unit and the Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum called “Cops and Robbers: Whisky, Women, and Risky Business.” I’ve also helped out with a lot of smaller exhibits.

Is the beer in Germany just awesome?
I have been told so, but I don’t drink beer (it’s a taste thing). I do like the wine though!