Hidden Treasures: What Museums Can't or Won't Show You [NOOK Book]

Overview


While there are more than 15,000 museums in our country, visitors get to see only about five percent of any institution’s collections.  Most museums simply don’t have room to display everything they’ve got. However, there are a wide variety of surprising and intriguing reasons why, for example, the Smithsonian Institution doesn’t display its collection of condoms; why the Field Museum locks up its shrunken heads; and why the bones of a former slave named Fortune were hidden away for years in the ...

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Hidden Treasures: What Museums Can't or Won't Show You

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Overview


While there are more than 15,000 museums in our country, visitors get to see only about five percent of any institution’s collections.  Most museums simply don’t have room to display everything they’ve got. However, there are a wide variety of surprising and intriguing reasons why, for example, the Smithsonian Institution doesn’t display its collection of condoms; why the Field Museum locks up its shrunken heads; and why the bones of a former slave named Fortune were hidden away for years in the basement of Connecticut’s Mattatuck Museum. Each item or collection included in this volume is be described and placed in context with stories and interviews that explore the historical, social, cultural, political, environmental or other circumstances that led to that object being kept from view—the ultimate museum buff’s voyeuristic experience.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/02/2013
Though the U.S. has over 15,000 museums, visitors only see an estimated 5–10% percent of their holdings at any given time. The primary reason is lack of space, and the fact that some items are too old or too delicate to display. Radio producer Baskas distills her radio series Hidden Museum Treasures into stories about 50 strange items you’ll never get to see and the surprising reasons why. Some artifacts, like one of Pink Floyd’s giant inflatable pigs housed at Cleveland, Ohio’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum are simply too big to display, while others, like Marie Curie’s radium and a Taoist statue made from a highly toxic form of arsenic, are too dangerous. Then there are the oddities: the 612 “time capsules” containing ephemera that Andy Warhol collected and the glass coffin housed at the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, N.Y. Yes, there are mummified thumbs and anatomical artifacts, but gruesome items are in the minority. Baskas prefers to focus on quirky items with cultural significance (artifacts related to 9/11 at the TSA Museum) or those with a good story behind them (a slice of 150-year-old wedding cake from Tom Thumb’s wedding at the P.T. Barnum Museum in Bridgeport, Conn.). The result makes for entertaining reading that’s surprisingly informative; armchair librarians and archivists will be delighted. Full-color illus. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

"One of the great myths of the museum world is that we should perpetually strive to put as much of our collections on show for as long as we can. My sense instead is that one of the most important roles of the museum is precisely the opposite: namely to keep safe material that is off display and at rest, so that it can then be rediscovered and reinterpreted afresh when it has had a chance, if you like, to recharge it batteries."
Ken Arnold, Head of Public Programs at the Wellcome Collection in London
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781493001606
  • Publisher: Globe Pequot Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 922,848
  • File size: 22 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author


Harriet Baskas is an award-winning radio producer with a Masters in Communication from the University of Washington. Her radio series include Henrietta’s Holiday: Portraits of Unusual Museums and the Hidden Treasures Radio Project.

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