The Secret Museum
This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.
The Secret Museum is a unique treasure trove of the most intriguing artifacts hidden away in museum archives from all over the world – curated, brought to light, and brought to life by Molly Oldfield in a beautifully illustrated collection.
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 sixty unknown artefacts and stories from all five continents, from Rome to Rio and Boston to Berlin. 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…
‘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
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 could have been such a wonderful book
Some fascinating unseen museum secret gems which make a wonderful read. However if the idea was to present these to the world, why on earth are the pictures SO tiny! It almost defeats the object of the book. Yes, they can be a little enlarged , however not zoomed into as this results in blurred images. A real opportunity wasted sadly.
This book's been criticised because the pics aren't big enough. Personally that doesn't bother me as it's the story behind most of the objects which I think really makes this book so special. Looks like they're releasing an enhanced iPad edition which should deal with any concerns about the pictures.