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The video images of flames shooting skyward out of the National Museum of Brazil, in Rio de Janeiro, stabbed me in the heart.
I spent close to 20 years alternating between president, secretary, and grunt volunteer with the infinitely smaller Lake Country Museum. I know from personal experience how hard it is to document the past, especially from societies that maintained no written texts.
Every artifact, every letter, every story, is like a clue in a mystery novel. Clue by laborious clue, a museum puts together a coherent picture of what life was like, back then -- whenever “then” was.
The Rio fire, in effect, ripped out almost all the pages from the novel about South America.
How can you read a novel that isn’t there any longer?
Categories: Sharp Edges
Tags: museum, Fire, lobotomy, Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, artifacts
It would be hard not to write about a traumatic event – even if it works out all right in the end.
Last weekend, the forest fire that ravaged parts of Okanagan Centre forced Joan and me to abandon our home on 15 minutes’ notice. It was an oddly liberating experience.
We were lucky to have 15 minutes. One couple I talked with had less than two minutes. “I looked out my window and saw the flames shooting up the trees at the end of our yard,” she said. “We just ran out the door and into our car.”
She assumed that their home was gone. She seemed astonishingly calm about it.
Eight homes burned; about 30 others suffered damage.
Tags: Fire, evacuation, Okanagan Centre