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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

All the Best Rubbish

I picked up Ivor Noel Hume's All the Best Rubbish because I had enjoyed his Martin's Hundred, and simply because it was on top of the pile.

That was weeks ago. Much of it has stayed with me, especially his subtle wit which made me laugh out loud on pre-dawn bus commutes. His brief history of museums and collecting in England set them into the context of seafaring exploration and trade in a way which made me appreciate the extent to which Anglo-American museum history is maritime history.

But the words that I hope I will carry with me always are on page 83:

Any of us who tampers with the remains of the past has a moral responsibility to it...

What makes this book such an indispensable partner is the fact that it tells us why.

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