Friday, February 28, 2014

A Book Review of The Secret Museum

Let me just start by saying that I LOVED this book!  The Secret Museum: Some Treasures Are Too Precious to Display . . . by Molly Oldfield is an incredibly fascinating resource.  The author travels the world to hunt for hidden treasures tucked away underground, in vaults, and behind the gates of some of the world's 55,000 museums.  With 90-99 percent of Natural History museums' artifacts behind closed doors, this book allows a typical person to get a glimpse at some of the truly amazing things on this planet.  Apparently there are several reasons why so many artifacts don't grace the halls of museums - some items are too precious to display and are kept securely in vaults; others must be kept in strict, climate- and/or light-controlled environments; some are too enormous or too tiny; and, in many cases, museums just don't have enough room to showcase everything.

The author "exhibits" 60 items that she found especially interesting to her - items that come from the fields of history, science, and literature.  For each one she includes the history of the item, as well as other thought-provoking information and items related to the chosen exhibit.  Written in a conversational style, I especially liked the author's insights and comments regarding the various museums, curators that helped her, and side trips she made while researching this book. 

Some of my favorite exhibits?
* Apollo 17's moon-dusted spacesuits
* Queen Elizabeth I's lady-in-waiting's slap-soled shoes and the museum that now owns them
* Alfred Nobel's will and his deliberate choice to leave a legacy to encourage life instead of as a "Tradesman of Death"
* France's first giraffe and the sensation she created
* An incredibly intricate and beautiful 19th century glass jellyfish
* The mysterious story behind the Blood Dagger in The Tower of London

Though not written from a Biblical worldview, this book most definitely showcases the awesome handiwork of God!

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