I’m a Finalist for Month at the Museum!


Ok. Whew.

Just had to get that off my chest. I’ve been keeping all that bottled in for some time now. Ever since the SemiFinal round, I’ve had to keep a lid on things for a few weeks now. I’m finally, officially able to say something and I have to tell you… it feels good.

Out of 1,500 candidates who applied to spend a month at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry… I was lucky enough to make it to the Finals, along with four other hopefuls.

If you’re reading this, then that means that the Finalist have been announced and the public voting phase has begun. All five Finalists will be featured on the MSI site, and folks can vote up to once every 12 hours. The overall public vote will influence the Museum’s final decision, on who gets to spend a Month at the Museum.

Looking back, I realized it’s been more like a month and a half since the contest deadline (this is a photo of the woman who took my application at UPS). This was back on August 11th, and right around the time all applications had to be submitted.

Since that time, a lot has happened. A big part of why I had to keep quiet was due to MSI’s request. They wanted to keep all SemiFinalists and Finalists under wraps, until they were ready to make a big, official announcement. This meant that I had this fantastic news to share, but had to bite my lip and keep quiet about the whole thing.

I’ve agreed to not talk about specifics of the process, but here’s what I think I can tell you: Shortly after finding out I made it past the first round, I participated in a phone interview with Museum staff. I then made it to the next round, and had a day-long interview with even more Museum staff. On Friday of last week, I was notified that I was one of five applicants who had made it to the Final Round.

Honestly, it still hasn’t quite sunk in yet. Throughout this whole process, I’ve been trying to keep a very guarded mindset. The odds, after all, are technically against me. Despite making it through a lot of phases, this could still end up being a two-month long disappointment in the making. So I actively tried to throttle back my anticipation and excitement.

With today’s announcement, I feel like I can celebrate a bit more. Regardless of what happens, I feel inordinantly fortunate to have made it as far as I have. The Month at the Museum contest drew in over 1,500 applicants from across the nation (and a few spots around the world). Everyone who applied had to be really committed.

Entering MATM was more than just checking a box, or submitting a name. Each hopeful had to complete an extensive application, provide a photo, write a 500 word essay, and record a 60 second video describing why they would be a good choice for Month at the Museum.

In short – the people who applied were incredibly passionate about the concept, and genuinely wanted to take part in this once-in-a-lifetime experience. There were a TON of amazing applicants, and I’m still awed that I somehow made it all the way to the Finals.

When I stop to think about it, MSI must have had an incredibly difficult time trying to pick one applicant over the other. After all, how do you find the ideal candidate? Do you look for the person who’s good at photography? Do you look for someone who’s charismatic and outgoing? Do you look for a good writer?

There are so many factors at play, applicants who might be strong in one category but less so in another… I know I wouldn’t have wanted the job of choosing one candidate over another. It seems like a really, really tough job.

More than anything, I feel really lucky, really fortunate that I’ve made it to the Final Round. I’m excited to see what this week holds in store, and hoping that I get enough votes to help me be the person MSI picks.

Speaking of which… if you wouldn’t mind? I’d totally love it if you would cast a vote for me. Since people can vote every 12 hours, if you wanted to vote more than once… that’d be swell. As they say in Chicago, Vote early and vote often.

I owe a tremendous amount of thanks to my good friend Chris Stiles, who helped me film and edit my video application. Though I know the video component was only one of many factors in the Museum’s decision… Chris’ experience and expertise help me get past that initial round.

Whew! I’m so glad to be finally able to say something about the whole process. This blog is sort of a way that I can share different and interesting experiences I have… and making it this far into MATM has been really high on my list. I’m not going to lie – it was incredibly difficult to keep things under wraps, to keep my mouth shut about something this amazing and awesome.

After a month and a half… we’re down to seven days and counting. Wish me luck!

// Edit
As a kind of celebratory gesture, here’s a video I posted a while back featuring Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson. Nothing says “celebration” quite like autotune…

Month at the Museum: MSI Thank You Video
Month at the Museum: Semi-Finalists Announced Today
Month at the Museum: Favorite Videos
Month at the Museum: My Video and Application
Month at the Museum Contest: Filming My 60 Second Video

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. Congrats! VOTED!

    TJ Reply

  2. Wow!

    Alex Reply

  3. Great job Felix!!!

    gogaclan Reply

  4. SO AWESOME, Felix!!!!!!!!!!!! I will be voting as often as I can!!

    Allison Reply

  5. ahhhh!!! i had to fight the urge to scream when i saw this! congrats felix! I’ll vote at every chance i can get!

    margaret Reply

  6. I voted for you!! Best of luck.

    libby Reply

  7. All of my favorite bloggers have grown famous, I know you’ll make it! Keeping my fingers crossed, good luck!

    sumi@japan Reply

  8. Even if you don’t visit me at the orchard, I still voted for you.

    Anthony Reply

  9. Oh my gosh! I was wondering if you had made it since you never officially said you didn’t. CONGRATS!!!! I will vote for you, and make all my friends do the same. : O ) So exciting!

    Marty J. Reply

  10. Thanks so much, everyone! Today was really crazy, with the morning mostly a blur.I’ve kept quiet about this for so long, it feels weird to be able to discuss it in so public a manner. I still feel like I have to keep everything a secret!Over lunch, I did two phone interviews (one with the Chicago Tribune and another with a radio station, WBBM). Today has been very… surreal.

    avoision Reply

  11. And you were in the Red Eye today. You’re…famous. : O )

    Marty J. Reply

  12. When do they make their decision, do you know?

    juliet Reply

  13. Voting ends on Monday, and the winner will be announced on Wednesday, October 6th. All of the Finalists will be at MSI on Wednesday morning for a breakfast, where we’ll get to meet one another in person. After that… I think there’s some kind of press event, where the winner is revealed.Kicker of it is that none of us will know, beforehand. We get to find out at the same time as everyone else. Which makes sense, but will also make the morning a little crazy.Soon, soon. Less than a week away!

    avoision Reply

  14. Wow, that’s exciting — and nerve-wracking! The upside: you’ll get to have breakfast at the museum. Potential downside: maybe you’ll be too nervous to eat. :)I’m totally pulling for you. Voting as often as I can. Whatever happens, you’re the bomb, Felix!

    juliet Reply

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