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Houston Museum Learns a Corpse Flower is the Ticket to Increased Popularity

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If you work for a struggling museum, which as we’ve seen over the last couple of years pretty much means any museum, we have two words that will instantly save it and will likely earn you a promotion in the process: corpse flower. Granted the name is unpleasant, but so is the flower itself. Both huge and very rare, the draw is that it usually only blooms once in its lifetime and it’s a complete mystery as to when it will. When it finally does, it emits a powerful, terrible odor. But despite its scent, seeing it bloom is considered a big, big deal, or at least it’s easy to convince the public that it is. The Houston Museum of Natural Science is currently in the throws of corpse flower fever as theirs, “Lois,” looks like it’s getting ready to finally bloom (maybe). As such, they’ve had big crowds, started a webcam, sold merchandise, and most incredible: decided to leave the museum open 24 hours a day. They’ve considered closing when the flower doesn’t seem particularly active, only to see it pop open a bit, and the doors fly back open to the public. Of course they’ve also been blogging like mad (latest update: “Lois continues to progress, albeit not as fast as we had expected.”) and have used the museum’s Twitter account to issue up to the minute reports. Granted, eventually Lois is going to open up and after the stink subsides all the attention will likely taper off a bit, but for now, they seem to be getting the most out of this long, long ride.

Update: How’s that for good timing? Looks like today’s the day Lois will bloom.

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