The Museum Makers: A Journey Backwards
From old boxes of dark secrets to a golden age of museums, The Museum Makers is a fascinating and moving family story.
‘Rachel Morris is one of the smartest storytellers I have ever met … a wonderful book.’
James Rebanks, author of The Shepherd’s Life and English Pastoral
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DESCRIPTION & REVIEWS
‘Skilfully interwoven, history, reflection and detective work bouncing off one another to build a spirited narrative … engrossing.’
‘Without even thinking I began to slide all these things from the dusty boxes under my bed into groups on the carpet, to take a guess at what belonged to whom, to match up photographs and handwriting to memories and names – in other words, to sort and classify. As I did so I had the revelation that in what we do with our memories and the stuff that our parents leave behind, we are all museum makers, seeking to makes sense of the past.’
Museum expert Rachel Morris had been ignoring the boxes under her bed for decades. When she finally opened them, an entire bohemian family history was laid bare. The experience was revelatory – searching for her absent father in the archives of the Tate; understanding the loss and longings of the grandmother who raised her. Transported back to the museums that had enriched her lonely childhood, Rachel also explores the stories of the early museum makers, whose passions and mistakes were reflected in her own family.
‘A fascinating meditation on the life of objects and their power to trigger our memories.’
Dina Nayeri, author of The Ungrateful Refugee
‘This is the best book I’ve read this year . . . A brilliant read.’
Deborah Mattinson, author of Beyond the Red Wall
‘In this elegant and eloquent book Morris explores the contents of the boxes under her bed to calmly piece together a family pattern of loss and extreme eccentricity. As a museum curator, she meditates on the nature of museums: the Museum of Me we all carry in our heads, and the public institutions in which variations of the world’s history are told.’
Julia Blackburn, author of Time Song: Searching for Doggerland
‘Morris’ writing is immediately welcoming, and the content is warmly familiar for any reader working within the museums and heritage profession (although this is not a prerequisite to enjoying the book) … It is a timely book at a moment when the heritage sector is asking challenging questions.’
Ferren Gipson, Arts Quarterly