Wednesday, June 25, 2003

First Significance

Apparently your house museum visitors are more erudite than the ones I run across. The most frequent comments I hear, in various tours, are along the lines of “Can you believe they actually used this?”

There seems to be a common belief in object- rather than place-oriented museums that everything on display is “the first.” From the Smithsonian: “Is this the first guitar?” “This must be the first car.”
Apparently, mere historic value, use by a major figure of history/culture, or exemplary status is immaterial. The public only finds an object significant if it is the first of its kind.


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