"He liked the smell of museums, the musty scent of things dug from the earth and buried in heavy wooden store cupboards. He liked the smell of the polish on the marbled floors, and the way his shoes squeaked as he walked across them. He liked the way that people's voices would drift up and be lost in the hush of the high-ceilinged rooms. He liked the coldness of the glass cases when he pressed his face against them. He liked looking at the dates of objects, and trying not to get dizzy as he added up how long ago that was. He didn't understand why people had to ask, why they didn't enjoy museums as much as he did, and why some of the other boys at school started calling him a swot and a teacher's pet. It seemed perfectly natural to him, to be amazed by the physical object and be awed by its reach across time. A thumbprint in a piece of prehistoric pottery. The chipped edge of a Viking battle-axe, and the shattered remains of a human skull. The scribbled designs for the world's first steam engine, spotted with candlewax and stained with jam. It seemed like some kind of miracle to him that these traces of distant lives had survived, and that he was able to stand in front of them and stare for as long as he liked."