The Deep, Psychological and Temporal Meaning of 100,000

Last week, the New Mexico History Museum began laying plans for how we’d mark our 100,000th visitor since opening on May 24, 2009. This week, when the numbers came in, we realized it had zipped past us unannounced. As of Sunday, Oct. 18, we’d logged 100,761.

Which got me to thinking about what 100,000 means. Here are a few of the answers I’ve found.

In its last full year of operating as a solo museum, the Palace of the Governors logged 55,597 visitors. The History Museum/Palace of the Governors hit its total just shy of five months old.

According to 06 estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau, only the city of Albuquerque has more than 100,000 residents. Of the next top four:

Las Cruces: 86,268

Santa Fe: 72,056

Rio Rancho: 71,607

Farmington: 43,573

According to Wikipedia (I know, I know, but we’re being whimsical here – lighten’ up!):

In astronomy, 100,000 metres, 100 kilometres, or 100 km (62 miles) is the altitude at which the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) defines spaceflight to begin.

In the Irish Language, Ceád Mile Fáilte (pronounced: KAY-ed MEE-luh FOIL-cha) is a popular greeting meaning “A Hundred Thousand Welcomes”.

In piphilology, one hundred thousand is the current world record for the number of digits of pi memorized by a human being.

If you really, really, seriously need to annoy 100,000 people by putting lots of icons in your e-mails and Web posts, here’s where to find 100,000 varieties:

In pounds, 100,000 equals approximately 523.5 American males, 638.9 American females.

In dollars, 100,000 would pay the salaries of 3.6 certified nurses assistants in Albuquerque.

And, finally: College stadiums that regularly host 100,000 people include Penn State’s Beaver Stadium, the University of Michigan’s Michigan Stadium, and the Ohio State Buckeyes’ Ohio Stadium. (Until the 1970s the Melbourne Cricket Ground could seat up to 130,000 people. Renovations and safety regulations have since restricted the capacity to its current 100,000.)

Thanks to all the by-ones, by-twos, and by-a-few-mores who helped us reach the 100,000 mark at the Museum. We’re just sorry we weren’t there with roses to greet you, Visitor Hundred Thou.

Kate Nelson