The auditorium was full. More than three hundred people were seated in the audience, eagerly anticipating hearing about and seeing beautiful examples of the art that our ancestors were making thousands of years ago. As Dr. White stepped up to the podium and said his first words, the power went out, and the auditorium was plunged into darkness.
Dim emergency lights came on as the back-up generator kicked in. Amy Potts, and Daniel Burch of the Houston Museum of Natural Science scrambled to find out what was going on; if it was just the museum, or if the outage was more widespread. Once we determined that the power was out for the surrounding area, and it wasn't likely to come back on soon, we came up with a plan B.
Dr. White agreed to give his talk in the dark, without slides. It was a powerful and moving experience for those who stayed to listen, and the experience of listening together in the dark made it even more memorable.
The Leakey Foundation would like to thank Randall White for going above and beyond, the Archaeological Institute of America - Houston for partnering with us on this amazing lecture, and The Houston Museum of Natural Science for being a a great partner and a venue that can keep it's cool when things don't go according to plan!