Museums' hidden treasures
From a spacesuit dirtied by moon dust to the world’s oldest book – some treasures are simply too fragile, valuable, or strange to display to the public. Molly Oldfield was given keys to the vaults
From The Telegraph This one is my favourite.
A piece of Newton’s apple tree The Royal Society, London
Pretty much everyone has heard the story about how Sir Isaac Newton first described gravity: he was sitting underneath an apple tree when an apple fell from the tree and bounced off his head. Newton’s fabled apple tree once stood in the garden of his childhood home, Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire.
In 1800 the inspirational tree blew over, but the owner of Woolsthorpe saved some pieces of it. On a shelf in the cool basement of the Society’s London HQ are two fragments, as well as two rulers and a prism made from the wood. One of the fragments is in a little pink plastic bag, because it has been on an adventure, up into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis in 2010.
The apple wood was taken up into orbit so that it could experience zero gravity. The plan was also to drop a real apple on the space station and film whether it was subject to gravity or not. They weren’t able to do the test because an astronaut who didn’t know what they were up to saw the apple lying around and ate it. They had to make do with a pear.
Posted on 02/27/2013 11:22 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax