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The Secret Museum Hardcover – 5 Sep 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 351 pages
  • Publisher: Firefly Books (5 Sept. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1770852573
  • ISBN-13: 978-1770852570
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 2.9 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,191,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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'.

Product Description

Review

‘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

--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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 text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.


Inside This Book

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I like books. Simple as that. I like e-books and my Kindle makes life easier when I'm on the move. But I like proper, old-fashioned printed books even more. And every so often, one comes along that is so beautifully produced that it could never, ever be as lovely made from pixels. Molly Oldfield's 'The Secret Museum' is one of them.

It's lavishly illustrated with drawings and photos, the layout is beautiful and it stinks of quality. That extends to the content too - primarily why I bought the book, of course. It describes a fascinating cabinet of curiosities brought blinking into the light from out of the dark, secret rooms at the back and below the public areas of museums; 60 extraordinary treasures like Francis Crick's first doodle of the structure of DNA (Object 10), Livingstone's and Stanley's hats (Object(s) 30), the tools that once belonged to Queen Victoria's dentist (Object 51), and Nabokov's butterfly genitalia cabinet (No, really, it's Object 12). Every chapter shows us something that we'd otherwise never see. And every item, in some way, marks a moment in history when art or science or discovery took a step forward.

This is one of the nicest books I've seen and read in a very long time. If you can afford it, get the hardcover now. While I'm sure any future paperbook or e-book edition will be quite splendid, they won't be quite as good as this edition. If, for no other reason, because this book is just about heavy enough to swat away an angry Exu (Object 29).

Very probably, one of the best books I'll buy this year.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this. Like many others, I have never thought much about all the amazing objects that are not in the glass cases with the descriptive cards and this beautifully written and produced book redresses the balance. Molly Oldfield gives us a personal tour through some of the best of these treasures. What really stands out is the variety of the museums - and the objects themselves - both in terms of geography and in the way they span the humanities and the sciences. Finding such a range of objects so fascinating is flattering to a reader's sense of themselves as quite the polymath - when in fact, it really comes down to the author's concise, informative and entertaining style and the breadth of her understanding of the value of this hidden inheritance. Thankyou so much for this brilliant book.
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Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First of all, this book looks amazing. It's definitely not something you'll want to hide on a shelf. Unlike some of the treasures discussed in this book, you'll want to display it where people can see!

I ordered this book because I'm a fan of QI and the author, Molly Oldfield, is a QI Elf. I was interested to see what she might find quite interesting, and I have to say that I wasn't at all disappointed.

Each of the treasures that Oldfield has discovered for her readers is described beautifully and in loving detail, including their rich histories and how they got to be where they are currently housed. There are some very nice drawings in the margins, but I found myself wishing for fewer drawings and more photographs. As a reader, I'm never going to get the kind of access afforded to Ms. Oldfield so I was hoping for more (or maybe just bigger?) photos.

I highly recommend that anyone with even the slightest appreciation for beautiful and fascinating things purchase this book. I promise that you won't regret it!
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Format: Hardcover
Opening the glittering cover of this wonderful book feels like stepping inside one of the museum archives that Molly Oldfield describes so evocatively. And beneath the cover, there are so many treasures on display. What I love about this book is not just the objects that Molly has chosen - fascinating in themselves - but the stories that she weaves around them - whether of the curators guiding her through dusty archives, or the wider significance of these objects in the world, or the feelings that seeing the objects provokes in her. This creates a book full of such richness and personality, that it should be on every bookshelf.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent concept, delivered in an engaging and apparently effortless style. I have no doubt that lots and lots of hard work and effort went in to this.

It is an absolute pleasure, highly recommended.

Molly has created a virtual Secret Museum much like Jorge Luis Borges' Library.

I look forward to wandering around there on a regular basis!
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