Friday, August 6, 2010

Mildenhall, and a Treasure

Last month, the girlies and I attended a screening of Fantastic Mr. Fox at the public library. The next day, I requested the complete works of Roald Dahl for check-out.

Our public library spoils us, by the way. From the comfort of your home, you can peruse our library's online catalog, everything from children's comic books to the newest novels to feature films to software to entire seasons of TV series. You can request any item from that online catalog--if it's checked out, it will be held for you upon its return, and if it's in the building, an employee will pull it off the shelf for you. You can request that the item be held for you to pick up either at the check-out desk indoors, or AT THE DRIVE-UP, WHERE YOU DO NOT EVEN HAVE TO GET OUT OF YOUR CAR. I, on account of we homeschool and walk and I routinely (as in every other day) want more library materials than I can carry, make AMPLE use of these services.

And that's how Matt, on his way home from work the next evening, drove by the library and picked up the complete works of Roald Dahl for us, as well as other miscellaneous novels and picture books and DVDs and software, etc.

Mostly the books have sat on the library bookshelf (because yes, we have an ENTIRE BOOKSHELF solely for library books--the CDs and DVDS and software programs are kept elsewhere), but they're there for the girls if they become interested, and the other evening, while Syd and the dad were out running some errands, Willow found Roald Dahl's The Mildenhall Treasure and asked me to read it to her.

And so I did.

If you have not read about the Mildenhall Treasure before, specifically Dahl's account of it, I recommend that you do. Wow.

The book, however, is illustrated by an Artist, and although there are several very evocative renditions of the treasure, there are none in the book that actually, you know, show what the treasure looks like really.

And so we went online.

The book notes that the treasure was acquired by the British Museum, so that's where we went. Virtually. On the British Museum web site there's a brief account of the Mildenhall Treasure (although not the scandalous story that Dahl relates), a notation of exactly where in the museum one can go to gaze upon the treasure (insert jealous sigh here), and a few nice images that, if you didn't quite get while you were reading the tale exactly what the big deal is with a bunch of silver platters and plates, you get it now. Again, wow.

Okay, so blah, blah, blah, research, research, research, but then the two of us, Will and I, get the bright idea that we want to put the Mildenhall Treasure on our timeline, and wouldn't it be great to get a copy of those images to go with it?

And here's where we make an awesome discovery.

The British Museum has a free digital image service, for which you can register, and then request high-quality digital images of anything in the British Museums's collections that they have high-quality digital images of. The British Museum will then get some interns or someone to find those images and email them to you. Can you freaking imagine the awesomeness of that?

And that's how we got Mildenhall on our timeline:
And now I'm going to go request myself some more art.

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