museum piece

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museum piece

An elderly or old-fashioned item or person, as in When are you going to sell that museum piece of a car? or Aunt Jane comes from another era-she's a real museum piece. This expression originated about 1900 for an article valuable enough for museum display but began to be used disparagingly from about 1915.
See also: piece
References in classic literature ?
As he drummed his heels against Zam-Zammah he turned now and again from his king-of-the-castle game with little Chota Lal and Abdullah the sweetmeat-seller's son, to make a rude remark to the native policeman on guard over rows of shoes at the Museum door.
Then, fingering his rosary, he half turned to the Museum.
I am surprised to see that it was undated, and might still almost "Admit Bearer to see the Museum," to say nothing of the bearer's friends, since my editor's name "and party" is scrawled beneath the legend.
They walked out of the museum into a long, dark corridor, with the walls painted in two shades of red, and other youths walking along suggested the way to them.
He went through Covent Garden to Oxford Street, and as he turned into Museum Street he walked more slowly, smiling at his own nervousness as he approached the sullen gray mass at the end.
So now, after all its adventures, having been found, we shall never know where, by a gentleman in the days of Queen Elizabeth, having lain on his bookshelves unknown and unread for a hundred years and more, having been nearly destroyed by fire, having been still further destroyed by neglect, Beowulf at last came to its own, and is now carefully treasured in a glass case in the British Museum, where any one who cared about it may go to look at it.
The story is figured in a different form on the reliefs from the choragic monument of Lysicrates, now in the British Museum (17).
All the weapons in the museum discharged at once could not have more violently set in motion the waves of sound.
You seem to have a sort of geological museum here," he said, as he sat down, jerking his head briefly in the direction of the brown dust and the crystalline fragments.
The Room of Gold, in the British Museum, is probably well enough known to the inquiring alien and the travelled American.
And here's Kirby's Wonderful Museum,' said Mr Boffin, 'and Caulfield's Characters, and Wilson's.
I have a standing order for such things from one of the museums I represent.
In Grandfather's younger days there used to be a wax figure of him in one of the Boston museums, representing a solemn, dark-visaged person, in a minister's black gown, and with a black-letter volume before him.
Most of them have found their way into museums, and the rest are the treasured possessions of wealthy amateurs.
Never in my life had I seen such a beast, nor did I at first recognize it, so different in appearance is the live reality from the stuffed, unnatural specimens preserved to us in our museums.