Museum Secrets: Hidden Stories from the Ashmolean

Lucy Dawkins

Museum Secrets: Hidden Stories from the Ashmolean
Ashmolean Museum
United Kingdom
1 December 2022

Museum Secrets: Hidden Stories from the Ashmolean

Lucy Dawkins

In December 2020, spirits were low. The first tentative visitors had only just made it back through the doors of the Ashmolean after months of isolation, only for another lockdown to come crashing into view. The galleries went dark for a second time in a year. There’s something uncanny about standing in the Museum when it’s empty of visitors. You can sense a million human stories all around you, clamouring to be told to… no-one. So, we had to change tack. If we couldn’t get people into the building, we could get the stories out. I started calling around curators, asking for their most uplifting tales in the collections. From bedrooms and garden sheds and kitchen tables, the Ashmolean team started recording themselves, sharing stories of joy and resilience to help keep us all going through the dark winter months of quarantine. The result was a podcast, Museum Secrets, which you can find on the Ashmolean’s website. This book contains the highlights. These are stories you won’t find on the labels. These are stories of the human experiences hidden in the Museum’s cases and frames. They are stories that cheered us up when we needed it most, and I hope will continue to do so.

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