Museums have given us some of the most fascinating collections of objects now in existence, and for this we are of course extremely grateful to them. However, many of these collections were put together by hugely wealthy emporers and powerful men, or ambitious humanists and intellectuals. In other words, many of the objects were gathered together not only to display the best of what the world had to offer but also the magnificence of their collectors, or the refinement and brilliance of the countries that had them on display.
There is a type of object whose museum, up until now, has largely been a dusty little corner, a small box under a bed, a well fingered envelope, or a top shelf. The value of this type of object easily rivals that of the most precious artefact in the grandest museum in the world. It is the value of being treasured and loved more than any other object in it’s owners possession, and of carrying stories and memories for that person that are an absolutely essential part of who they are. Up until now these sorts of treasures have not been shared, they are, after all, intensely private to those that own them. But who doesn’t wish they could know, when they look at the ancient axe-heads in the British museum, who owned that particular lump of rock, what they killed with it, how they felt about it. The only thing that makes that piece of rock different from any other is the fact that we know it was owned by a human like us. It is the stories behind objects, and the people behind the stories, that have the power to make anything a treasure.
Today when all around us resources are dwindling and the number of objects in the world and in our lives is so high that we can barely sustain it any longer, we must share our real treasure with each other and be inspired by it. This way we can re-learn the value and the beauty of things.