Museum Acquires Private Collection of Famous Writer’s Old Things

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. memorabilia / ˌmɛm ər əˈbɪl i ə / (n) – items that are part of a collection

    I’m selling memorabilia, like posters and shirts, of my favorite band.

  2. cherry-pick / ˈtʃɛr iˌpɪk / (v) – to choose the best from what is available

    Top companies cherry-pick the best applicants.

  3. grant / grænt / (n) – an amount of money given by a government or an organization for a specific purpose

    Local organizations gave the hospital a large grant to improve its facilities.

  4. hilarious / hɪˈlɛər i əs / (adj) – very funny

    The movie was hilarious; I couldn’t stop laughing while watching it.

  5. catalog / ˈkæt lˌɔg / (v) – to list items in an organized manner

    The librarians catalog all the books the library receives.


Read the text below.

The Charles Dickens Museum in London has acquired a private collection that features memorabilia of renowned British writer Charles Dickens.

The museum had the chance to cherry-pick items from a private collection in the United States. This collection holds the world’s most valuable Charles Dickens memorabilia. The museum was able to acquire over 300 pieces from the collection because of a government grant and donations from various organizations.

Among the items in the collection are Dickens’s jewelry and writing tools. The collection also includes original drawings for his novels. It also features 50 manuscripts that were never published, books from Dickens’s library, and the writer’s handwritten letters.

According to the museum’s director, the writer’s character, state of mind, and creative process are reflected in his letters. She also expressed fondness for the letters because they are very detailed, passionate, and hilarious. One letter revealed Dickens’s plans for a dinner party. Another showed the writer’s struggles over the death of his sister-in-law, who was the inspiration for a character in one of his novels. Other letters reflected Dickens’s marriage, relationships, and life in America.

Mark Dickens, the chairman of the Charles Dickens Museum and the writer’s great-great-grandson, said the acquisition is greatly significant. He believes the collection will give insight into Dickens’s legacy and encourage people to learn more about the writer’s life.

The collection will be cataloged, secured, and displayed both at the Charles Dickens Museum and online.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think it’s appropriate to put Dickens’s private letters up for display? Why or why not?
• If you were given the chance to see a collection of a famous person’s memorabilia, whose would you choose? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

• What do you think is the value of gaining insight into the life of famous people? Explain.
• Aside from letters, what else can reveal a person’s character (e.g. fashion, personal habits)? Discuss.