About a month ago, we got a new desk in the Visitors Center. It happened about the same time we had to start wearing masks again indoors. And about the same time I started working in the Visitors Center more often.
The new desk had been ordered in March. During the year that the Visitors Center was closed, they did a lot of upgrades and renovations. I didn’t see it before, but they redid the gift shop and many of the museum displays. They also took out the diorama model of the fort. Although I like those old dioramas, Fort Union Trading Post really didn’t need it. After all, people can walk around and see the rebuilt fort. They don’t need a model.
The new desk was the pièce de résistance. It would be useful, central, and ergonomic. The only problem was getting it completed. Tom and I started hearing about the new desk during orientation in May. When we arrived in June, they were still saying “when the new desk gets here . . .” It finally arrived in August to great acclaim. We had to close the Visitors Center for a couple of days while they installed it and rewired the electricity and internet. Then we waited another couple of weeks for the new phones to be installed.
But the new desk is beautiful and easy to work with. There is more counter space and a display cabinet for the expensive items sold in the gift shop. We have room to store extra brochures and our personal stuff behind cabinet doors. My favorite thing about the new desk is no more tablecloth. The old “desk” was a card table with a tablecloth over it. To get anything stored underneath I had to lift up the tablecloth, pull out what I wanted and then repeat the process to put it away again. Doing it every time I had to throw away a piece of trash was a pain.
There are two dings with the new desk. The first is the cash register area. The cash register is an iPad on top with a cash drawer underneath. The desk builders didn’t put a cover over the indented area for the cash register, so all the cords and the cash box were visible. I built a temporary shelf the first day out of some extra brochure shelves, packing tape, and some scrap wood. The only thing it has going for it is the wood is the same color, so it kind of blends in. Supposedly the company is making a new cover for this area but who knows how long that will take.
The other ding is the big drawer at the bottom of the back cupboard. The drawer has runners on the bottom that connected to the wood on the front of the drawer. The drawer was so big and heavy that it was designed to fail. A couple of weeks ago, while I was trying to get the drawer pushed back in, the drawer fell out, the runners broke, and the wood on the front of the drawer came off. Our maintenance guys looked at it and then called the company that built the desk to come out and redesign the drawer.
Other than those two things, the new desk is wonderful. I spend a lot of my time behind it and I’m glad to do it – even if I do have to wear a mask.