I grew up just two blocks away from the American Museum of Natural History. It always amazed me that so many people would come from around the world to see the dinosaurs and exhibits of ancient cultures in the same neighborhood that my father’s local store stood in.
When a friend of mine started working at the museum and told me about how great a place it was, I eagerly applied for a job there as well. That was 1967. Since then, for 50 years now, I have been a Supervising Attendant Guard and proud member of Local 1306.
The union has been there for me since day one in so many ways.
I’ve always seen people who are afraid of losing their jobs or struggling with paying for health insurance, and that’s something I’ve never worried about. I don’t know how anybody could raise a family here without the kind of amazing health benefits that I and my coworkers, who are also union members, receive.
Unions fight for you. Non-union workers can be dumped out the door, no questions asked. Being part of a union means job security.
All of that means so much to me that I’ve turned down opportunities over the years to move up into higher positions because they were non-union. I never want to give up those protections and benefits.
My job starts when many others are already finishing for the day.
I watch over the museum at night, sending out other guards to keep an eye on things while I watch the video cameras that are placed throughout the museum.
There’s a certain magic in the museum at night, though none of the exhibits come to life as they did in the “Night at the Museum” movies! I was there to see some of the shooting of the movies and even had the chance to meet Robin Williams and other actors that were in it.
Besides actors, we’ve had tons of other guests come through, including the cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead, who at the time of her death in 1978 was the most famous anthropologist in the world. It was such an honor to meet her and help show her around the museum.
Of course, the public are our greatest guests of all.
There are parties almost every night after the museum closes. From sleepovers to birthdays and bar mitzvahs, and even large dance parties, my team and I make sure that everybody is safe while they are having a time that they will never forget.