From mushroom gnats to amethysts, botanical prints to vertebrae,
the ordinary rests alongside the extraordinary in Dry Storeroom No. 1,
The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum. Like artist
Cornell's boxes, the book presents a cloistered world with all the eccentric
curiosities inherent in the process of acquiring, labeling, and storing
Once viewed as markers of civilization, museums were a gentleman's pastime. Fortey's passing references to the British Empire could make it seem as though 19th century game trophies were on a par with women's genteel watercolors, but despite any omissions regarding colonialism or the ethics of hunting abroad for collections, the book maintains a charm difficult to criticize.
Rather than dwelling on the unsavory aspects of museum-makingat one point Fortey encounters a cupboard filled with ...
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