Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book!
Who knows what's hidden from view? Locked away in cabinets, secure storage and aircraft hangars.
Most of a museum's collection never gets seen. It sits in the quiet dark of an archive waiting for a treasure hunter or obsessive researcher to root out its very existence. Under the streets of Manhattan priceless books are shelved; brick outbuildings in London's East End house drawers of Victorian embroidery remembering foundlings long ago dead; body bags in Washington clothe space suits covered in real moon dust and in an unvisited aircraft hangar sits Auguste Piccard's extraordinary invention, the balloon gondola...
This and many other extraordinary inventions, legacies, discoveries and artefacts have been visited and curated by Molly Oldfield into a Secret Museum. Rich in atmosphere and anecdote, suffused with the surprising emotion of a personal discovery, but grounded in fascinating factual detail, this is a unique and beautifully illustrated book.
THE SECRET MUSEUM reveals nearly eighty unknown artefacts and stories from all five continents, from Kensington to Korea, Boston, Lincs to Boston, MA. And like the very best mornings spent at a museum it promises to be idiosyncratic, surprising and enormously good fun.
The Artefacts in the book include: An original Gutenberg Bible printed on vellum, Harrison Schmitt's Space Suit, A piece of Newton's Apple Tree, Van Gogh's Sketchbooks, The original drawings of Wimbledon's Centre Court, Dickens' letter opener,Three pieces of Mars, and much more...
About the Author
Molly has been a writer and researcher on 9 series of the landmark BBC1 programme QI, presented by Stephen Fry, and has spent that time honing her ability to bring the most interesting and entertaining fragments of information to light. She also writes a weekly QI column in the Saturday Telegraph and researches QI's sister Radio 4 programme, The Museum of Curiosity.
This is a rare instance where you can judge a book by its cover - glittering gold, this book is truly a delight. The author lovingly tells the story of 60 different objects hidden in archives and stores around the world - spacesuits, Van Gogh's sketchbooks, blue whales, bits of Mars, sleds, explorers' hats.
The book is a glorious mix of different delights, and each object proves the gateway to a very different story as Molly takes the reader on a journey first into the storerooms of museums around the world - NASA's spacesuit storage springs to mind - and then into the world of the object itself. As you might expect from a QI writer the emphasis is on what is interesting and curious, rather than on the dry and academic. The writing is fresh, lively, and above all, accessible - this is a book written for everyone. And the production of the book is just sumptious: full colour, glossy pages, and just the most lovely illustrations. A real treasure - 5 out of 5.
`A unique tome... beautifully researched.' The Sun
`Startlingly brilliant ... I've rarely read a book so fuelled by sheer enthusiasm. It's all quite delightful, a brilliant idea executed with great charm and unceasing joie de vivre' Daily Mail
`Oldfield's genius is to see that museums have more stuff than they can display, and to persuade curators to show her their buried treasures ... her cabinet of curiosities reveals very engaging personality' Times
`[Molly Oldfield] selects 60 of the most interesting and iconic artefacts from museum archives ... and tells their stories in fact, fiction, history and enthusiastic, interesting anecdote' Saga Magazine
`This gorgeous golden-jacketed book is totally brilliant ... It's one of those rare solution presents too, great for anyone of any age' A Little Bird
ISBN: 9780007455287 ISBN-10: 0007455283 Audience:
Number Of Pages: 352 Published: 1st March 2013 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Country of Publication: GB Dimensions (cm): 25.1 x 19.5
Weight (kg): 1.27