The Past Perfect

When you look at a museum’s exhibit of “ancient Greek art,” you might expect to see statues with missing noses and arms, old bowls and broken vases, perhaps tools of this or that bygone trade or a mosaic with missing pieces.  A tempting and typical reaction to such an exhibit is to think that such artifacts open a window onto “the ancient world” and tell the real story about the society that made and used them. Such is the view of the past that animates many travelers and history buffs–those who, for example, visit that place called “the Holy Land” in search of timeless footsteps in which they too can walk.

But in order for it to be meaningful to the museum’s visitor–instead of a jumble of broken clay pieces, as it once was before a careful archeologist arrived on the scene–think about what else an exhibit has to include, in order for it to be something worth paying attention to….

Work through the various sub-pages included in “The Past Perfect” to explore this problem.