The funny thing about having the money to revise an exhibit that’s already installed is that, well, there’s already a version out there that people are using, so it sometimes falls to lower priority. Even if you know there are a lot of things that could be better about it. Even if, as I said, the money is in hand to update it. That’s another thing about outreach being still sort of the afterthought of scientific grants; even when the scientists have to report on their grant progress, if the outreach effort isn’t in that report, well, the grant agencies aren’t always so concerned about that.
So we’re trying to revise our salmon fisheries exhibit, and we have a concept, but we have to constantly remind ourselves to make progress on it. It’s an item on my list that is “Important, but not Urgent,” (one of those Seven Habits of Highly Effective People things), and it keeps being shoved out for the Urgent but Not Important and even Not Urgent, Not Important (but way more interesting!) things. I think it’s like revising a paper; sometimes, the work it takes to come up with the ideas in the first place is far more interesting than more nitpicky revisions. And, again, a lot less urgent. So, we’re setting interim milestones to make progress: 1) we have our visualization collaborator working on new images, 2) we have text to re-organize and re-write, and 3) we have a basic logic about the new version that we’ve sent to the developers so they can write the automated data collection tool that records what a user does and when and for how long. So, we feel confident in progress since we’ve farmed out 1 and 3, but that still leaves #2 for us to chip away at. And sometimes, that’s what it takes. A little bit of time here, a little bit there, and eventually, there’s a lot less to get done and the task seems less overwhelming. Maybe the blog will help keep us accountable for getting this exhibit done by … the end of the summer?