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Curator James Wintle points out a detail on Renaissance sheet music while bassist Duff McKagan and two of his guests look on.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame bassist Duff McKagan of Guns N' Roses looks over a collections display with James Wintle of the Music Division, August 30, 2023. Photo by Shawn Miller/Library of Congress. Note: Privacy and publicity rights for individuals depicted may apply.

Be Like Duff McKagan and Experience Treasures in the Music Division’s Collections

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The Music Division’s wide-ranging collections in music, dance, and theater offer countless points of connection for visitors, researchers, and musicians alike. One of the great joys of working in the Music Division is curating treasures displays for groups of students, touring musicians, and special guests. While the displays are always tailored to the interests or backgrounds of the guests, each time we pull materials from the special and general collections, we have the opportunity to pass along the excitement of discovery that we treasure as part of our daily work. Each of our expert curators, archivists, and music specialists bring a wealth of expertise to the Library and their passions shine through when sharing the stories behind items.

Over the past several weeks, the Music Division has been privileged to host artists and ensembles who represent different genres and global audiences. Recent special guests have included Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Duff McKagan, a distinguished solo artist and bassist in the band Guns N’ Roses,  Shinyribs, the Austin, Texas-based multi-genre band that was named “Best Austin Band” in 2017 and 2018, and members of the national touring company of the Tony Award-winning Broadway production of “Moulin Rouge.” These visitors were treated to seeing an array of performing arts treasures, including Copyright deposits, manuscripts of major works in their respective genres, production designs, and more.

Here are some photos from recent visits:

Bassist Duff McKagan (shirt says "Easy Street Records") stands with his memoir, which is on a table behind a Mozart violin sonata music manuscript.
Bassist Duff McKagan stands with the Library’s copy of his memoir (“It’s So Easy”) and a Mozart violin sonata music manuscript., August 30, 2023. Photo by Shawn Miller/Library of Congress.

13 individuals standing around a large table that has music treasures displayed.
Austin-based band Shinyribs during their visit to the Library of Congress in September 2023. Pictured with James Wintle and Heather Darnell of the Music Division. Photo by Heather Darnell/ Library of Congress. 
17 individuals pose in the Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson Building.
Members of the cast of the national tour of “Moulin Rouge” during a September 2023 visit to the Library of Congress. Photo by Elaina Finkelstein/Library of Congress. 
Five different examples of sheet music (various colors) from four film adaptations of "Moulin Rouge" on a table
Copyright deposits of sheet music from four different film versions of Moulin Rouge. Photo by Nicholas A. Brown/Library of Congress. 

Follow our Facebook page to keep up with the latest visits – you never know who will pop in next to experience the wow of being in the same room as a Mozart manuscript, lyric sketches for your favorite Broadway musical, or handwritten letters between your favorite singers.

While we love to celebrate the touring artists who visit the Library, our collections are also important resources for current research and study. Whether you are an educator developing a lesson plan, a graduate student in music, or an avocational history buff, the Music Division’s collections are available and accessible to you – you don’t have to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or on Broadway to visit! Anyone age 16 or older can register for a free LC Reader Identification Card and access the Performing Arts Reading Room. The Music Division’s digital collections, finding aids, and resource guides are freely available online (no registration required). If you have a question for one of our talented reference specialists, contact us via Ask a Librarian.

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