The act of opening this eclectic, tall-format tome will launch readers on a leisurely and edifying journey of discovery. "Suppose you went into a museum and you didn't know what it was," the late, distinguished British author asks at the outset, then demonstrates the fundamentally eccentric nature of institutions more commonly viewed as sober and staid. Holland, also British, jolts readers still further with his mixed-media collages, which sparingly employ color and liberally combine what look like Victorian engravings, pencil sketches, Gorey-like figures, and photos of various locales. His stylish compositions play with perspective, type and design, making excellent use of the vertically oriented pages as the text pieces together an overview of museum evolution. The circuitous gambol includes the ancient muses (at the root of "museum"); Alexandria, Egypt; the Middle Ages; and such famous collectors and collections as Peter the Great and Oxford University's Ashmolean. Mark doesn't dwell long on any one era or topic, and her style is often both conversational and witty. Although the discussion is far-ranging (encompassing two-headed sheep and holy relics as well as the definition of a synoptic gallery), the inclusion of disparate items puts the concept of a museum into meaningful context by the conclusion. Also proffered are inventive examples of the word (the brain as a museum for thoughts). Throughout, the intricate details of the energetic compositions invite close perusal, prompting an analogy between this book and the exhibits it celebrates. Ages 8-up. (Oct.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Museum Book: A Guide to Strange and Wonderful Collectionsby Jan Mark, Richard Holland
What is a museum? Why would anyone amass shells, words, clocks, teeth, trains, dinosaurs, mummies . . . or two-headed sheep? Find out where the word "museum" comes from and what unusual items/b>
Why do people collect things? This ode to museums mighty and minuscule will draw curious viewers of all ages — and is worthy of collection itself.
What is a museum? Why would anyone amass shells, words, clocks, teeth, trains, dinosaurs, mummies . . . or two-headed sheep? Find out where the word "museum" comes from and what unusual items (unicorn horns? mermaids?) some early museums placed on view. Jan Mark’s humorous and conversational insights take readers through museums’ multifaceted history, while Richard Holland’s eye-catching mixed-media illustrations lend their own quirky flair. With vivid examples from all around the world, this wonderful book puts museums — and the many artifacts lovingly stored there — on display in a whole new light.
This slim, information-packed chronological history of museums includes such terms as "panopticon," "tumulus," and "elf bolts" and highlights the need to investigate, collect, and respect history through scientific study. Beginning with the first building to house "old and interesting things" in Ur in 550 BCE, Mark describes The Museum of Alexandria, explaining the etymology of the term by introducing the mythological Muses. A chapter on the Middle Ages mentions accumulations of holy relics, the search for rare and powerful objects by alchemists and apothecaries, and the Wunderkammer (chamber of wonders) of private collectors. The book covers noted collectors throughout history and also traces the development of modern museums. Readers learn that these institutions are not limited in size or content; the word may refer to an art gallery, a synoptic museum in which all objects share the same classification, or even a whole city. Even the mind is presented as a museum of ideas and a dictionary as a museum of words. Mixed-media illustrations present a collage of photographic and print images, incorporating varying fonts and surprising bursts of color amid the images. Above all, the author stresses the connection between the past and future. A thoughtful book for those who see collecting as joy or science.
Mary ElamCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Meet the Author
Jan Mark, one of Britain’s most distinguished authors of books for young people, was twice awarded the Carnegie Medal and also received many other awards. She passed away in January 2006.
Richard Holland says that THE MUSEUM BOOK inspired him to try a new mixed-media collage style and "was an illustrator’s dream." He lives in Essex, England.
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