The secret ways to enter and leave a museum

It’s day 2 at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco.  As there are a series of installations in process of set-up, entering the museum requires being let in by MoAD staff, and then rather than taking the elevator to the third floor office, which would require crossing gallery space, one has to take the stairs.  Not just any stairs.  They are the emergency exit stairs, that go directly into the office space.  
There has always been something about being let into the back of house areas that intrigues me.  It was the same in my old elementary school, which had these hidden spaces within it.  I remember that off the auditorium’s stage, there was a small room at the left.  It was cold in the winter with its white painted brick walls and concrete floors.  It had a piano there and, when I was very young, they offered piano lessons there, which I took for a year or two, having already been given special permission to leave class for the lessons my mother saved pennies for.  On the left of that room was an entrance that led to a narrow staircase.  Up and up, I would go once a week for clarinet lessons for years.  I believe the teacher’s name was Mr. Neumann, though I can’t remember for sure.  Music lessons in a tour, more concrete floors.  Hidden places for music.  
That old school had other special places, like the upper balcony over the auditorium, where for a long while there was a mimeograph machine.  All the copies of the school were sent there for copying.  The woman who worked there, whose name I can’t remember, had a little desk with one of the old barrister style lamps.  I must have been in second or third grade when she let me help to run the mimeograph machine.  Soon after that, they updated the equipment, going from the large rolls to a more compact Xerox copier that still smelled like machines and pressed ink.  
And in high school, it was the dressing room off the right of the stage, where once upon a time I kissed a man in a lion suit after The Wiz production was done.  
Hidden places with visceral and sensory-rich memories.  Now here I am, in a museum.  I now sit in the office space.  On the walls, there are these huge pages with calendars that show when the museum is closed and which staff member is in or out, what schools are visiting and when.  To get here, I had to walk the concrete stairs, hidden behind easily dismissed doors.  No one but those in the know would take note.  Here I am with a way in to a delight I take that most folks would probably not feel themselves.  They are the stairs, of course, and 3 flights of them.  
For me, this is a little more time to think and being in my still weak body, I feel my soreness as I go up.  This is a small journey into attentiveness, though, and a metaphor for entering the hidden spaces I, too, keep.  

Today’s task list (with adjustments already):  Read essays for class; time with baby in the morning; walk to BART; MoAD from 1-5pm; read and provide comments for upcoming consult; email about my Berlin and Cork residencies; meet parents at the airport; work on my pre-professor review; take train home


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