The Secret Museum Hardcover – 28 Feb 2013
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‘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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
I do like reading and the background details are well presented and researched, but I was looking forward to seeing detailed photographs of the items - maybe copyyright or some other reason only allows the smaller images. This is a really interesting book, apart from the main point about the photographs.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bought this used but was in perfect condition, well written and we'll worth the investment!Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
It is about the kind of odd, out-of-the-way even secret objects and compulsions that fascinate me. The illustrations are perfect and add to the intrigue of the text. Read morePublished 3 months ago by rose knox-peebles
a wonderful book and a perfect present - full of interesting information beautifully written in an informal stylePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
Simply a delight. Fascinating in every respect This is the kind of book that can never be appreciated on an E-readerPublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
A cracking read that really opened my eyes to what's hidden away around the world due to lack of display space or the item(s) being priceless. Highly recommended...Published 11 months ago by A P TURFITT
This is a stunning book, highly unusual and worth buying either for yourself or as a gift for someone with a curious mind.Published 16 months ago by J