The Industrial Museum - Reid Kurkereiwcz


As custodians, we fight the day-to-day tendency of cleanliness to disorder with routine. This is possible in a building, because a building has parameters, and if everyone shows up we can sufficiently replace the toilet paper rolls, mop an entire block of linoleum, and maintain the exhibits of tractors, engines, and wheels, and,

The I.M. needs me.

Dusting goes to the new, younger custodians, but I'll supervise them sometimes.

“Use a circular motion,” I'll say,

critiquing their naivete in tending to the dust. They will create smudges if they continue with the up and down. The up and down motions (I learned at my last job) will smudge windows worse than they were before. That is a custodian's worst shame – to leave a space worse than it was.

If my boot tracks cold snow onto the heated linoleum and creates puddles, I will walk around in wet socks mopping my mistake. “Thanks,” a conservator will say as they walk out to their night; and I will not tell them that this is my mess, that I am not cleaning for them, because I am on the clock; and I knew what my boot would track in, but I continue, knowing they prefer to see me work.


Reid Kurkerewicz is a Junior Creative Writing and Journalism major who hopes to make a living with his words.