The Best and Worst Cups of Coffees Ever…

As I was making coffee this morning at work,  I was exclaiming to a colleague how much I love coffee – It’s a lot. We were discussing how all coffee is good, even bad coffee is better than no coffee at all, and I was reminded of the worst cup of coffee I had ever tasted.

The worst cup of coffee ever:

A few years ago, when I was living up in Northwestern Ontario, I was driving between my then home, Fort Frances, and the small city of Kenora (even further to the north). I stopped at a small roadside community along the highway for a cup of coffee for the road. I won’t say which community, but there are not that many. I went into their only store and came out with some snacks and a cup of coffee.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take a sip until I was on the road again – it was awful.

So awful that I put it in my cupholder and didn’t even absentmindedly attempt to drink from it for the remainder of the trip.

It tasted like someone had made coffee a week earlier, then the grinds had gone mouldy, and they brewed another pot with them. Then two days later I came along.

Either that or they ran out of coffee and just used dirt.

Now for a very different story.

The best cup of coffee ever:

As an undergraduate student in archaeology, I spent the summer between my 3rd and 4th year in Jordan. On the way there, six friends and I made a side trip to Egypt. Our return flights to Cairo were an add-on to our main flights to Jordan and were with Royal Jordanian Airlines.

The flight from Amman, Jordan to Cairo, Egypt is a short flight, but they still fed us lunch; part of that lunch was the most heaven-like, velvety coffee I have ever tasted.


Only myself and one other in my group, Susie, had the coffee, and we spent the next week and a half reliving that coffee. Telling the others about it, and dreaming of the return flight to Amman when we would once again get to taste the most perfect cup of coffee in the world.

Sadly, when the return coffee was finally acquired – seven cups, one for each of us…

It was not the same! 

We were so disappointed! The best we can figure is that someone important had been on that first flight, and they had brought out the good stuff. That or the attendants on this second flight did not have the magic touch of the first.

So, the story of the best coffee ever ends on a sad note; I will likely never taste that coffee again…

But I can still hope that one day we will cross paths.

Budget Museum Hacks: 100 uses for foam board – #2 – A chalkboard

100 uses for foam board- #2 – A Chalkboard

Foam board use #1 – Flip books

This use of foam board is simple. A low-cost reusable chalkboard for adding an interactive element to your temporary exhibitions.

The chalkboard

I created this chalkboard for the extremely low budget Lost Collections of the Ancient World exhibit. One of the central objects in the exhibit was a large clay pot full of perforations, the “Mystery Vessel,” so named because we did not know the original intended purpose of this pot. So, we asked exhibit visitors to write what they thought it might be on the chalkboard. This helped add an evolving and interactive component to the exhibit.

“What do you think it is?” Chalkboard

The chalk can be removed just like from a regular board. You can of course paint chalkboard paint directly onto a wall, but the foam board ‘s light weight and portability allow it to be easily hung and re-hung in different locations throughout the museum and exhibits.


  • One foamboard (cut to size)
  • Chalkboard paint (you can purchase this at most hardware stores, or try making your own, it’s cheaper, and you can make it any colour you want!)
  • finishing nails
  • hammer

Step 1: Paint the foam board with an even layer of chalkboard paint

Step 2: Let it dry

Step 3: Use the finishing nails, one at each corner (plus one more along the middle of each edge – if making a large chalkboard) by gently taping in the finishing nails – this takes practice, you don’t want to hit the foam board with your hammer – It will dent!

And you’re done! 

Further suggestion: Do you want to have a full wall chalkboard without the permanency? Try painting multiple foam boards and puzzling them together on the wall.

If you have a Budget Museum Hack of your own, let me know! I would welcome guest blogs in this series 🙂

The Wandering Museum Consultant

What is the Wandering Museum Consultant?

Short Answer: A crazy idea.

Proper Answer: An experienced museum professional wandering around the world, and spending time at a variety of museums offering my services as a volunteer consultant. Throughout, I will be blogging about each museum, the region/country and the project itself.

The purpose of the Wandering Museum Consultant is two-fold:

1) The museums will benefit from:

  • Extra help from an experienced museum professional
  • Exposure to non traditional markets through my blog

2) I will benefit:

  • Experience in different types of museums and in different countries
  • Develop a network (perhaps connect those I work with with each other as well)
  • Meaningful travel

I have seven years experience working in museums, primarily in Canada, but also in the UK. I have had the opportunity to work in small museums, where I have been able to develop skills in many different areas, including education programming and delivery, collections management and research, exhibition research and design, volunteer management and museum governance. In October 2012 I was honoured with an Ontario Museum Association’ Promising Leadership Award of Excellence for my body of work. Please check out my C.V. for more on my experience and accomplishments.

Currently, I am putting together an initial short term Wandering Museum Consultant program for this summer (a bit of a trial run). I will be spending the summer in Europe, and I am looking for 3 more 2 week placements in the UK or Europe. I am doing these placements on a volunteer basis, however, I greatly appreciate a donation of housing where I go (this does not need to be private accommodation, I am perfectly happy to be in spare rooms, etc.).


June 3 – 13: Vindolanda Charitable Trust, UK

June 16 – 27: Dublin, Ireland (Museums TBC)

July 7 – 18: ?

July 21 – August 1: ?

If you are interested in hosting me at your museum, please contact me at

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑