The Museum of Lost Wonder is a book that exists to illuminate life’s mysteries. In the context of exhibits in a fictional museum, Jeff Hoke has created a world of beautiful drawings, historical tidbits, thoughtful challenges to common myths, and projects you can pursue at home.
This author’s edition is signed by Jeff Hoke and contains a special 3D print titled “Descartes Remains.” It is suitable for framing, and comes with 3D glasses which are also good for viewing other 3D images on the museum website.
210 Pages, Hardcover, 9 x 11.5″ — with 7 fold-out models
From Publishers Weekly
“Every now and then, a book comes along that’s almost impossible to categorize, like Hoke’s beautifully illustrated gem, a strange marriage of alchemical lore and psychology, science and “wonder.” Hoke, an artist and a senior exhibition designer at California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium, writes that the eclectic museums and curiosity cabinets of the 1600s inspired him, and that he wants to return us to a time before “science became a belief system unto itself,” a time when artist-alchemist-scientists were able to search for inner truth via mystical experiences and experiments without being ridiculed. Guided by the Greek muses and lured by his lovely color illustrations, readers are beckoned into seven “exhibition halls,” named for the stages of alchemical transformation from base matter to divinely inspired knowledge. Each exhibit also includes a pull-out interactive paper model, such as a “Do-It-Yourself Model of the Universe” in chapter one, where Hoke playfully addresses various creation myths. The chapter on dream states, visions and hypnosis is particularly fascinating. This is a book to linger over; it gradually reveals itself as a sly philosophical meditation on human consciousness, bringing in concepts from Tibetan Buddhism and quantum physics.”
“A celebration of the human mind. A quirky, graphical telling of the story of everything and ourselves as the principal actors in its drama. A cabinet of curiosities brimming with marvels, astonishments, and revelations. Consistently wise in its recognition that humor is the gateway to the profound, and how beer has shaped the major philosophies of the world. For all you seekers of truth, this book is better than a pair of transcendent socks, wiser than an oracular muffin and more entertaining than a whistling oyster.” Brian Froud, author of Lady Cottington’s pressed Fairy Book.
The Museum of Lost Wonder is one of the most imaginative books ever to appear. I liked it that much. It is filled with magic, mysticism, science, and art all delightfully accurate and portrayed from the point of view of a child discovering the world for the first time. By reading it and following the guides to building models, you will discover the magic that may be missing in your life today. Don’t miss the opportunity.”—Fred Alan Wolf, Ph.D.
Is this activity book aimed at the kind of child, who is a hip curator, with a working knowledge of alchemical symbolism and chaos magic, a fortean bent and an urge for mystic self-transformation. You’d expect to find it in the gift shop of LA’s Museum of Jurassic Technology, or maybe turning up as a Maguffin in a Tim Powers novel. Who might constitute an audience for something as left field as this is a mystery. It restores your faith in publishers that any would put out such a beautiful volume of such thorough-going eccentricity. The book comprises seven chapters, or galleries, named after stages of the alchemical process and full of stuff about museums, alchemy and science, looked at from a very strange perspective. There are beautiful illustrations throughout, and each chapter comes with a cut-out model to illustrate the ideas it contains -the Universe, a scrying pendulum, a Hypnotrope (a sort of dream machine) and other entertaining things that will end up cluttering my office shelves, given half a chance. As you progress through the galleries, you take a transformative journey, exploring ideas, doing little hands-on experiments, trying quizzes and generally entertaining yourself. This, could, of course, have gone terribly New Age, but the tone remains playfully hermetic and its ideas are laced with cheerful humor. Fulcanelli would have kept it in his bathroom. There are diversions into the history and nature of cabinets of curiosity, DIY creation myths, cartoons, instructions in creating visions, and visitor surveys that ask questions such as “Do you believe scientists have souls? Do you believe they might have souls but haven’t found them yet? Do you believe that scientists believe they have souls, but are too embarrassed to talk about them with their colleagues. This is one man’s vision of the Universe, incorporating his pet obsessions into an amusing, surprisingly coherent and entertaining whole, -huge fun! I started writing this review in a train full of science communicators, who promptly nicked the book and passed it about with exclamations of joy…You may see exhibits based on it at a science center near you! We need more books like this please. Like awe that lays dormant in all adults. He understands our need for secret societies, lost treasure, magic charms, and true callings. — Ian Simmons – Fortean Times
The Search for Wonder Ends Here. Jeff Hoke’s ’s beautifully illustrated book. is about everything — from psychology to alchemy, from science to magic, from star systems to death. Hoke is an American visual artist inspired by artifacts of the 16th and 17th centuries. He creates a super-natural ambience, reconnecting the dry, rational view of the contemporary world with the magical perspective of the science to magic, from star systems to death. The book is a treasure trove that can be endlessly explored in search of surprising facts, strange images, thought-provoking ideas and exciting experiments. Hoke continually manages to stimulate the imagination so that nothing is what it seems to be and everything is enchanted. The book is an experience. –Ode magazin
In Jeff Hoke’s new book, The Museum of Lost Wonder you will experience all this and more. You will turn each heavy, slick page, each one filled with drawings and text guaranteed to make you ponder something imponderable. Some of you will find answers, some will be surprised by the mysteries, others will simply admire the mind and work that went into the development of this volume. My wife looked at it and said, “What an odd book!” I tried reading it like a regular linear book, and was lost. But then I wondered, what about dipping into it here and there, just as you would in a “real” museum. And since then I pick it up regularly, wander into one of the seven halls, and check out the exhibits. Whether I spend a few minutes searching the heavens, or a half hour reading up on the four “humors” (phlegmatic, sanguine, choleric and melancholic) each visit is worth the trip. Haven’t built any of the models yet, I’m not one of those who likes to cut pages out of a book. I can’t help it, it’s the way I was raised. But it doesn’t stop me from unfolding the model pages and admiring the design, color and content. There’s a Hypnotrope in the Observatory, a Theatre of the Mind in the Garden, and a Muse-a-um in the Mausoleum of History. Each hall has a playground with activities, experiments, and much, much more. Jeff Hoke designs museum exhibits, and he put his talents to work to create one of the year’s most fascinating books. As it says in the jacket blurb, this is “not just a book, it’s an experience.” The Museum of Lost Wonders is a portable feast, an imaginative challenge to the reader, and more than a little fun! Your ticket is right there on the front jacket, it says “ADMIT ONE . . . everything you need is inside.” Well, bring your imagination! — David Kidney, The Greenman Review