9-year-old boy serves as chief curator of museum

6:44 PM, Mar 22, 2013   |    comments
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DENVER - When the position opened up for chief curator at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Eli Navant put together a portfolio and applied. The 3rd grader did not get the job, but museum officials decided to put him in charge for one day.

"I'm pretty nervous, but I know it's going to be fun," said Eli, a 3rd grader at Kyffin Elementary School in Jefferson County.

In November, Museum President George Sparks actually brought Eli in for a real interview because he was so impressed with his application. But, in the end, Sparks did not offer Eli the job.

"I was kind of surprised and a little mad at the same time," Eli said. "But, once I figured out it was Curator for a Day, I was like woo hoo!"

For eight hours on Friday, Eli spent time talking with each department head the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. He inspected construction plans of the new wing. He even delivered a formal presentation to the entire museum staff.

"He prepped quite a bit," Eli's father John Navant said. "So, it was a little more professional than just coming in williy-nilly."

Needless to say John Navant says he is proud of his son. He became emotional during Eli's presentation to more than 100 staff members and scientists.

"I will readily admit I started crying near the end, absolutely," said John Navant.

Even though, it just a one day job, Sparks believes this could be a glimpse of the future.

"I'm convinced that you can come back in 40 years that there is a finite possibility that Eli will be the Chief Curator of this museum of have my job," Sparks said.

When asked about any insight Eli learned about running the museum, he has a simple answer.

"It makes me want the job a lot more," Eli said. "I figured out that it was going to be a little bit harder than I expected, but it still would've been fun."

The real job was given to Dr. Scott Sampson, a paleontologist who used be the Chief Curator of the Utah Museum of Natural History.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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