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Category: Preservation and Conservation

Image of an ornate clock showing 2:05 with sculpted male figures sitting on each side of the clock face

Library of the Unexpected: Cocaine, Hair and…Wedding Cake?

Posted by: Neely Tucker

The Library of Congress has unexpected items in its vast collections -- the contents of Lincoln's pockets when he was assassinated; cocaine used in a groundbreaking 19th-century surgery; a lock of Beethoven's hair; 3,000 year old cuneiform tablets from modern-day Iraq; Mesoamerican incense burners that are more than 2,000 years old; and a piece of Tom Thumb's wedding cake, now nearly 160 years old.

Image of an ornate clock showing 2:05 with sculpted male figures sitting on each side of the clock face

Toy Theaters: 19th Century Home Entertainment

Posted by: Wendi Maloney

The Library has dozens of 19th century animated toy theaters that were wildly popular in Europe and the United States, displaying dashing stories of pirates, undersea adventures, magic and adventure. Conservators have been painstakingly mending damage caused by historical use, making sure researchers can draw insights from the theaters for years to come.

Image of an ornate clock showing 2:05 with sculpted male figures sitting on each side of the clock face

The Rolling Stones, Hell’s Angels and Altamont: A New View

Posted by: Neely Tucker

The National Audio-Visual Conservation Center has found a never-before-seen home movie of the infamous Altamont Free Concert in 1969, during which a member of the Hell's Angels killed a member of the audience. The incident became a cultural turning point of the era.

Image of an ornate clock showing 2:05 with sculpted male figures sitting on each side of the clock face

Maya Blue and the Vessels of the Diving Gods

Posted by: Neely Tucker

The ceramics created by ancient Maya potters make for some of the most vibrantly colored objects that survive in the archaeological record of the Americas. John Hessler, curator of the Library's Kislak collection, explains how their distinctive blue color has survived for centuries.

Image of an ornate clock showing 2:05 with sculpted male figures sitting on each side of the clock face

Another Little Piece: A New Way to Study Medieval Manuscript Fragments

Posted by: Neely Tucker

The Library is collaborating with the international initiative Fragmentarium.ms to help pioneer digital fragmentology, piecing together long-ago manuscripts that were torn apart or had fallen into pieces over the centuries. Fragmentarium is building an international community around the ability to identify, search, compare, and collect data on medieval manuscript fragments.  What does that mean?  For one, it means that libraries across the world can work together to create complete virtual reconstructions of Ege’s manuscripts. O