In vitally important news, the Field Museum has won the Cintas Best Restroom Award, recognizing the best restrooms in America.
My first reaction, upon reading the story, was “Thank goodness I didn’t have to write that story.” (I’ve had to edit one toilet-related story in my career, and it was a fairly traumatizing experience, although that was less because of the topic and more because it was so horribly ill-conceived in its particulars.)
The tale does offer the opportunity for some more professional consideration* as well. Specifically, to what extent ought the museum publicize the award?
“Not at all” might be a viable option. I doubt the Field has any shortage of other news to publicize. On the other hand, it might be a missed opportunity.
Making a big deal out of it doesn’t seem like a great idea, though. This is certainly not one of the world’s most coveted honors–who would care if not for the slightly bawdy** nature of it? I doubt the Field has anything to gain by pretending that the award raises its stature in any way.
That seems to be what the Field is doing, at least in a limited way. The FieldMuseumPR Twitter account, and the museum’s Facebook page, have both acknowledged it in a good-natured but restrained way. I haven’t seen anything on the museum’s web page yet, although it is the weekend and the award is fairly young.
On the other hand, maybe the Field doesn’t gain anything by making anything out of this anywhere besides social media. I love comedy, but humor is also dangerous, and while there might be some cosmic value in offending the easily offended, there isn’t much in it for the museum itself. Another organization with a specific and well-known audience might well choose to be a bit more playful.
I’ve asked @FieldMuseumPR for more about the museum’s specific plans, although I haven’t heard back yet. In the meantime, I’m curious what others think.
* Let’s all restrain ourselves from commenting on the best place for that consideration to take place, shall we?
** Or cheeky. (Sorry.)