First 40: Night at the Museum

On Friday night, the Class of 2019 kicked off the holiday weekend with First Floor Dinner and Night at the Museum, an annual event hosted by the First Year Center that promises food, friends, and much more at the Missouri History Museum. As one of the WUSAs for Dauten, I was lucky enough to come along for the ride.

After enjoying a meal of pulled pork sandwiches and the like, we boarded the school busses that would take us to the museum just ten minutes away. As we pulled around the back of the museum upon arrival, the scent of popcorn drew our attention to the outdoor movie set-up.

Once we thanked our bus driver, we all hopped off the bus and headed inside, where we were greeted by a large statue of Thomas Jefferson and an even larger dance party, complete with a DJ and strings of bright lights. A number of freshmen, WUSAs, and RAs were going ham on the floor while countless other students filled up the stairwells, chatting and waiting for student groups such as Chahaat, WashU’s premier Bollywood Fusion dance team, to perform. Almost like clockwork, the dance party suspended itself to watch as different clubs took to the floor, each bringing a unique energy to the scene.



The welcoming atmosphere made it easy, natural even, for people to immediately join the party taking place in the museum’s Grand Hall. Just outside, balloon artists fashioned all manner of hat, animal, or sword, and in the wings surrounding the hall, exhibits (such as the 1904 World’s Fair, which had tons of pictures of WashU from back in the day) were open exclusively for us to explore; downstairs, students played blackjack and poker in the casino (and scored some awesome WashU swag in the process) or posed with their friends for caricatures.


As the night wore on, students began heading back to campus; so to send them off, the WUSAs, still dancing, formed a massive, human tunnel through which freshmen ran on their way to the busses. Once the last freshmen had returned home for the night, we WUSAs cleaned up, and we left the museum that had been teeming with WashU students just an hour before. It was one for the books, to be sure. And we aren’t even halfway through the First 40.