My top five museum books by Dr Tehmina Goskar

In the first of a series, where we ask guests to select five museum books, Dr Tehmina Goskar, Co-founder of Museum Hour picks her five favourite books. 

Dr Tehmina Goskar is the energetic Co-Founder of the brilliant Museum Hour twitter group and by day runs a Curatorial Consultancy offering research, policy and project development for communities, businesses, museums and digital ventures. Tehmina’s main interests are equality and diversity in access to collections, interpretation and any aspects of minority and under-represented heritage. She is lives by the sea in Penzance, Cornwall and lives with her archaeologist husband Tom Goskar. For fun, she writes history and plays the fiddle in a roaming band.  

She co-founded Museum Hour with Sophie Ballinger in October 2014. It takes place 8-9pm UK time with followers from around the world. Every week a different theme sets the agenda for debate. Museum Hour has covered everything from natural history to co-creation, topical debates on museum cuts and charging to taboo subjects like sexuality and hate. Everyone is welcome at #museumhour and everyone’s views are treated equally. 

Dr Tehmina Goskar

My top five 

Vikings: Life and Legend - Out of print

Co-written by my friend and colleague Dr. Gareth Williams, this was for a long time my Bible when researching and co-curating Viking Voyagers at National Maritime Museum Cornwall in 2014/15. It is a brilliant example of scholarly collaboration written accessibly but absolutely factually, not shying away from the complexities that the rich exhibits in this stunning exhibition represent.

The World In Play: Luxury Cards, 1430-1540

The World in Play - Luxury Cards from Museum Bookstore

I love miniature art and representations of the world in miniature. The playing card has taken on so many esoteric purposes from the regional symbolism of Italian carte gioco to the art of Tarot. Playing cards are like puppets—the pack becomes a cast that the players try and control while the card’s characters do their best to interrupt the storylines.

50 Years of Wildlife Photographer of the Year: How Wildlife Photography Became Art

50 Years of Wildlife Photographer of the Year - Museum Bookstore

Over the years the way these visually arresting images have been displayed has got better and better. High-definition digital screens are finally bringing us canvases that can seduce our eyes as well as any oil painting. I hope that the art of the wildlife photograph doesn’t take over the serious mission of better understanding our world in non-human terms.

Faking it: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop

Faking It - Museum Bookstore

The subject of this book reminds me of John Berger’s Ways of Seeing. Given the majority of images we are exposed to in our museums today have undergone some form of manipulation, it isn’t surprising that as soon as people were able to capture still images in photographs they soon found ways to alter them to make their audiences believe what they saw. #nofilter

Finding Longitude: How Ships, Clocks and Stars Helped Solve the Longitude Problem - Out of print


We no longer expect to see ships wrecked because they didn’t know where they were going. The story of clockmaker John Harrison who finally solved how to calculate longitude following the wreck of HMS Association in 1707 has had an impact far beyond safety at sea. Today all of the world is governed by the clocks and the calculation of time that followed.

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