Museum of Antiquity Episode 1

(My parents gave me a book years ago called the MUSEUM OF THE ANTIQUITY. It was 944 pages, bound in leather with gold leaf imprinted on the cover. Inside were magnificent illustrations, covered in tissue to protect them from the acid in the paper. It was like taking a voyage, or stepping into a time machine. While growing up I spent many rainy days or sunny Saturday afternoons…traveling and exploring in antiquity as far as the edges of the page. Sometimes I wondered what it would be like if the book could transport more than your imagination. What if the MUSEUM OF THE ANTIQUITY appeared in your neighborhood like…a traveling museum? What if a book’s power was like magic. What if you could wander from chapter to chapter like walking from room to room? So let’s wander…a bit…ready? Let’s wander into the dark and changing hallways of the Museum of the Antiquity…ILLUSTRATED.)

Adventures start at night. Are you brave enough?

You are walking your dog along a quiet rainy street. A shopping center is on your left with open spaces available for parking. You see a flash, and smell something in the air. It causes you to flinch. The odor has the ‘tang’ of history…years passing in a moment. The smell stings your nostrils, like something large has shot through a black hole and upon hitting the ground left a hole in the ground. There is no hole, no explosion, no rubble thown into the air form the descent of a meteor. However, there is something there on the other side of the street, a building, with gold glass windows that seem to glow from inside. You stare. “Where the (expletive deletive) did that come from?” You say to the night.

It is a large building.  It looks like in its travels has picked up styles from various decades or even epochs. The colors are brown and copper, like the outside of a leather bound book. There is a large black iron door with the stars, the moon, the sun and distant pyramids upon  black metal. Through the air there is the sound of lightly struck bells, moving lightly back and forth in the early evening breeze.

Yes. I thought it looked like the Royal Ontario Museum too. Amazing.

No one is on the street. Your dog Watson, sees the building. He looks up and you can read his mind. “Are we going to check it out?” Watson is a mutt, and proud of it. Watson is either the bravest dog in the world or the most stupid. All you know he has stood up to other dogs three times his size, and they all walked away after seeing his mouth of ugly yellow teeth.

It is 4-inches thick. The title is embossed with gold on dark leather. It was published in 1885. Do you know what was going on in 1885. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was first published. Sitting Bull was still alive and joined Buffalo Bill in his 'Wild West Show.' This was the year that you did not have to compete with the summer tourists. You saw buildings of antiquity and you were one of the few in the world. This book has illustrations that will make you feel that you are standing in the desert looking at the Columns of Karnac on a bright moonlit night.

You cross over and approach the main door and see blazoned over the door the words: THE MUSEUM OF THE ANTIQUITY. Odd. Very odd. You are about to knock on the door, but hesitate. This building was not here yesterday or this morning. You were out with Watson earlier today, and the parking lot was…well, empty. Suddenly, as if out of nothing a building plops itself down. THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE! You take a few steps up and look at the roof. It is imposing, like a pyramid. Where did it come from? Buildings don’t build themselves. “I hate mysteries,” you whisper to yourself, but then you come to the realization that the statment is a lie. You love them.

You use the door knocker, a brass image of the God Atep, and the sound against the iron seems to have wakened something from the interior. The doorknocker makes the inside of the building sounds hollow like a barrel drum, but it isn’t hollow is it? No building and no book is really hollow. Something is always behind the door, or at least upon the pages.

Footsteps.

Something is coming this way. Watson hears them too. The hairs on the back of his neck begin to bristle.

A mystery is coming your way.

Welcome to the living book: Museum of the Antquity

(This concludes episode 1. Look for Museum of Aniquities Episode 2, titled: “Adventure begins at the title page.” )

Comments

  • William Glover · July 4, 2012 · 1:35 am

    When I was young I was given a set of book called “My Book House” aside from the invitation the build any number of things it opened the doors to the worlds of antiquity, to me. and what what be more recent history. as an only child I could walk with the figures of the past and the become fast friends, the story tellers of the past were the voices that sang me to sleep along with the sounds of fighters and bombers leaving on missions and coming back . I learned to read from my fathers flight manuals a my ears were tuned to the sound of aircraft, I saw what many children did not after learning how to behave in a way that allowed me with stubby legs to walk the flight line with the wing commander and hold inside the pride I felt when my dads crew became his preferred crew. It all spun back to the friends I found in those books of the past.

  • snowmane · July 10, 2012 · 8:21 pm

    After reading your excellent story about the Museum of Antiquity book, I found a (free) copy of it on gutenberg.org and immediately downloaded it to my Nook ebook reader (complete with illustrations!!!). I have entered Pompeii through the gate of Herculaneum, gone through the ancient streets with their chariot wheel ruts, stopped to read the political inscriptions scribbled on the old walls, and am now at the bakers, peeking in at the 80+ loaves of bread found still in the oven. What a great book!

    There is also one less original hardcopy available at abebooks.com. I just bought it. It is way too easy to buy things on the internet now. Darn that Paypal!!!!

    Thanks so much for your stories and your podcast. You are brilliant. The first podcast of yours that I listened to was “I’m the Emperor and You’re Not” and it was just incredible how you set the mood and told the story of the boy.

    Best Wishes to you.

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