I told the doctor that I am a quiet person by nature, it's not always a big deal for me to have to talk, and I like to write. However I am now near the end of my second notebook of written out thoughts so that I can converse with my family, and I am going BONKERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He started laughing and told me, "Well, didn't the people in the 18th century write everything out about all the details of their lives? Aren't one of you in your family into the history thing?" Yes, that's me, and yes those of the 18th century did write down the details of their lives in notebooks called commonplace books. Museums like Colonial Williamsburg rely on them greatly to restore their buildings, to fill their buildings with historically accurate items, to know how to retell history, etc, etc, etc. The 18th century was really great about writing everything down like interactions with others, politics of the day, even detailing inventories like books or household items.
Although I have my pile of my own personal commonplace books that I fill when touring historic sites with all the notes of things I've learned and experienced...
I do now have a new pile growing of my 21st century books of conversations with people, with my side of the conversation. Anyone patient enough to read all that?
The doctor said, "Since you're interested in history, have you heard of the papyrus mask that is currently being unveiled?
Many of us know of the richly ornamented pharoah masks of the kings of Egypt. Lesser known sorts who were mummified could only afford papyrus masks, which are currently being very carefully peeled away to an amazing assortment of papers such as...the Gospel of Mark, copies of Homer's incredible stories (you know Homer from Greece who is credited for some of the first great pieces of literature, the Iliad and the Odyssey, upon which later works were inspired.) and even personal letters.
Dissenters take huge issue of this mask even being unveiled, or peeled away and stripped of its layers. For the record, I want to note that museums always have this dilemma when they receive a new to them object of antiquity. With great debate among their own staff the curators ponder the following:
- Should we leave it alone to learn from how it looked when it was discovered?
- Should we restore it to its former condition to learn from that angle?
- Should we pick it apart and learn from what is underneath...then we can leave future similar finds intact?