This week's book of the week is The Secret Museum, by Molly Oldfield.
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...