Museums are filled with treasures rare and wondrous from all over our planet and sometimes beyond. The problem is that while you can look at museum objects for a few hours, the time always comes when you have to head home and leave them behind.
The Mini Museum by curiosities collector Hans Fex solves that conundrum by putting an intriguing collection of rare items in the palm of your hand to enjoy whenever you want to be reminded just how amazing the world truly is.
Fex is now raising funds on Kickstarter for his Mini Museum 2, a follow-up to his very successful Mini Museum, which raised over $1.2 million in March 2014. This time around, Fex seems set to achieve a similar level of funding. He's already raised nearly $900,000 on an initial goal of $160,000 -- about £103,340 or AU$218,305 -- and there are still more than 20 days left in the campaign.
The Mini Museum 2 is a block of Lucite that measures approximately 5x4x1 inches (about 13x8x2.5 centimeters) and has embedded within its clear depths a striking array of specimens. There are 26 items in all, Fex says, including a piece of a Neanderthal hand ax; medieval chain mail; a raw emerald; the Hindenburg blimp; a piece of the torch used in the 2004 Athens Olympics; a suspension rope from the Golden Gate Bridge; and a piece of a Hell Pig's jaw.
Fex provides detailed descriptions of each of the items on his Kickstarter page, and they will also be described in a guide that is to be shipped with every Mini Museum.
One of the more interesting specimens is a piece of a "Moon Tree," which was grown from seeds sent to outer space on the Apollo 14 mission in 1971. The sample comes from a limb damaged in a storm.
In the same collection as a sample of mammoth meat you can appreciate an animal-like bit from the very first "Star Wars" movie. It's part of a Krayt Dragon vertebra, from the skeleton encountered by C-3PO, which was left in the Tunisian desert after the movie was done filming.
"My father, a brilliant scientist, came home and put a little piece of something from Malta into epoxy so he could keep it safe and on his desk or window ledge and carry it around for inspiration,". "I think some of us love to have or at least hold things that make us want to imagine. I think also when we hold these items we have an even greater desire to learn more about them."
All of the early-bird Mini Museums are now gone, so if you want one, you'll have to fork over $299 (about £194, AU$410). Shipment is expected in April 2016 but, based on the fact that each one is handmade, and response has apparently been through the roof, you might wind up waiting a little bit longer -- not to mention that Kickstarters and other crowdfunding projects don't necessarily ship at all. But when you're getting a piece of dessert glass that's about 28 million years old, patience becomes relative.