One hand washes the other
As we were finishing our tour of the King Tut gallery at the Children's Museum, we came upon a larger than life statue of Tut, probably carved for his mortuary temple. As I stood gazing up at the king's stone face, I began mentally calculating how long ago Tut lived: about 3200 years or so ago.
I immediately realized that that was approximately the length of time between Isildur and Aragorn, as presented in The Lord of the Rings
. Which illuminates the ancientry of Gondor, the impact of its architecture and statuary (such as the Argonath) upon the Companions of the Ring (who come from societies calqued upon early Medieval cultures), and so on.
My contemplation of the actual historic past thus enriched my feel for a work of fiction. My contemplation of that fiction added emotional and artistic weight to the dry contemplation of Very Old Stuff in a museum. And I felt like I'd just been thinking in stereo.