James Binum is a sophomore at The University of Alabama, works for an entomologist at the university, and works at the Alabama Museum of Natural History. James is majoring in anthropology and fittingly her favorite subject is history.
James first got a job working under an entomologist helping to raise insects. She is currently helping raise a newly found species of dragonflies that is indigenous to Texas. James has also helped raise other insects, such as millipedes, mahogany hissing cockroaches, and flesh-eating beetles. She loves the work she does helping raise the bugs she works with and finds them to be adorable. She has also started a collection of dead insects of her own at home. Some of the insects, like the mahogany hissing cockroaches can be viewed in the Alabama Museum of Natural History.
The Alabama Museum of Natural History is over 100 years old and is located in Smith Hall on The University of Alabama campus. The museum is open to the public and hosts events such as weddings and galas. It is here that James spends her days working for both the museum and the entomologist. At the museum she mostly works at the front desk, but the real action is reserved for the basement of the building. In a restricted part of the basement of Smith Hall is a room filled with bugs, both dead and alive. This is where the insects that James helps raise are located and where I got to see an inside look at what goes into raising dragonflies and flesh-eating beetles. I learned so much about these bugs in my visit to the lab, including the fact that baby dragonflies actually live in water and have gills in their butt!
James loves seeing the kids that come in on field trips with their schools. She says that one of her favorite memories at the museum was seeing a kid pee himself because he was so excited to be there. James later got to clean up the mess.
James has a love for museums and even though her work doesn’t exactly line up with her major she loves what she does and is glad to have learned so much through her experience at the museum.