Meaningful pasts: Post #12

1. What objects from the past do you particularly treasure?

Photographs, particularly those from family – then and now. I’ve made it a point to scan all the old photos which I’ve saved on an external hard drive. The process of doing that and going through all the pictures was quite significant. The paper photographs weren’t thrown away, but I guess that I scanned them so that I felt they’d be better preserved for future generations.

2. Do you think that some objects from the past are best forgotten?

I don’t think it’s necessary to keep everything. We can remember (and forget!) things without having to keep the actual objects.

3. What intangible pasts (e.g. customs and languages) are meaningful to you?

Memories of events, places and people, but also ideas and people’s imaginations (how they imagined things in the past) are quite important – for me, especially the Victorians because they existed at a time when science, religion and superstitions were indistinguishable and these ideas expanded across oceans to many places around the globe.

4. How is it best to preserve these intangible pasts?

Culture has a whole array of imaginations and ideas that keep these intangible pasts alive through stories, films, novels, and even computer games! We should continue to expand the horizons of keeping the past alive – even in museums.

5. If we save more and more objects and intangible pasts, is there a danger that there will be too much past in the future?

The danger is in overvaluing all pasts simply because they are pasts. We have to create the poetry of the future with the past as well as the present.

Male, 50s, academic


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