Night at the Bell Museum

Ben Stiller can’t save you from resurrected stuffed Minnesota wildlife

By: Jay Dooley

7  p.m.


Our plan for a late-night party in Bell was a triumphant success. It turns out bored millenials making $10.50 an hour make for a less-than-stellar security force; all seven of us hid in the bathroom stalls and got locked in the museum after-hours, all according to the plan. Now the fun begins: Chelsea and Mark are making out in the planetarium, Dave, Lucy, Andrew and I are setting up a pickup game of football using plastic fruit from the Global Kitchen exhibit, and Brett’s doing shadow puppet theater using the animal skulls from the free-to-touch kiddie room. Brett’s weird. We’re all having a blast, though.


9 p.m.

We’ve moved up to the second floor balcony to climb up the wooly mammoth. It’s weird that the security guards took down all of the stuffed animals in the wildlife exhibit that weren’t in display cases before leaving, especially since their perches and stands are still here. And I didn’t know there were so many animatronics in the display cases, it’s like a realistic, less gross Chuck E. Cheese’s in here. The moose gave me the stink eye, and Brett swears that the lynx was hitting on him. Whatevs. Time to mount some Paleolithic replicas!


9:05 p.m.

Okay so does anyone remember those “Night at the Museum” movies with Ben Stiller? Yeah, turns out all museums come to life after hours. And unlike the Smithsonian, which has some sexy wax figures and mannequins to transform into A-list actors, the Bell just has murderous stuffed Minnesotan wildlife. The good news is that Dave and Andrew were able to jump off of the now-sentient mammoth before getting crushed. The bad news is that they were then immediately mauled by the now-sentient giant beaver. The rest of us booked it out of there before the musk ox got any funny ideas, and we’re now hiding by the wildlife preservation section.


9:30 p.m.

Well, those wildlife preservation panels explained everything. With humans being kinda shitty to nature a lot, it’s really no wonder they’re trying to kill us. We smashed the panels, partly because we need to fashion some makeshift spears, partly because they made us feel vaguely guilty and sad. We just heard glass breaking and moose trumpeting, so we can assume the display cases will only last so long. Brett’s freaking out in the corner, and Chelsea and Mark are paranoid because the cute couple always dies next in the movies. Fingers crossed. We each have a fragile piece of faux wood to defend ourselves, so I’m optimistic we can get down to the first floor. Let’s show them why half of their species are on death’s door in the face of modern industrial development!


10 p.m.

Alright, let’s play “good-news bad-news” again. Good news, Chelsea and Mark were wrong about being next on the chopping block. Bad news, it’s because Lucy was eaten by taxidermized wolves. Chelsea, Brett, and I narrowly avoided getting dive-bombed by dozens of birds (seriously the Bell is like fifty percent birds) only for Mark to trip over a trilobite from the prehistoric section. He bravely told us to go on without him. It was either that or “Jesus Lord please come back and save me from being eaten.” Hard to tell over the sound of him being eaten. We were able to make it down the stairs only to meet spooky scary skeletons from the touch rooms sending shivers down our spines. Left with no other options, we fled to the Global Kitchen Exhibit.


11 p.m.

We have barricaded ourselves in the Global Kitchen Exhibit, where the scariest thing is an ornery plastic replica of Michael Phelps’ breakfast banging in its display case. Unfortunately, the sounds of heavy construction above us suggest that the giant beaver and its modern brothers are teaming up to create some kind of siege engine, perhaps a battering ram or a catapult.


11:30 p.m.

It was a trebuchet; one can’t help but admire the beavers’ ingenuity. The doors will be down any minute. The Michael Phelps breakfast finally got out of the case and throttled Brett by stuffing his mouth with french toast. Chelsea and I are cornered by avocados, corn, and other staples of the ancient Aztec marketplace.


Abandon hope, all ye who sneak into the Bell Museum after hours.

Wake Mag