Menus of the 1850s and 1860s


The Hilton College of the University of Houston's Hospitality Industry Archives includes a wonderful selection of menus from the 1850s and 1860s. Read the rest

100 useful tips from a bygone era


The Gallaher How to Do Its were a set of British 100 cigarette cards, each depicting and describing a 19th (?) century life-hack (the collection is undated). Read the rest

What happened to all the Star Trek hair? Shatner didn't take all of it home, did he?


A 1968 memo from Paramount producer Robert Justman to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry reports on the sad state of the show's hairpieces, which had gone missing in great number. Read the rest

10,000 wax cylinders digitized and free to download


The University of California at Santa Barbara library has undertaken an heroic digitization effort for its world-class archive of 19th and early 20th century wax cylinder recordings, and has placed over 10,000 songs online for anyone to download, stream and re-use.

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How TPP will clobber Canada's municipal archives and galleries of historical city photos


Jesse writes, "Like you, I've been following the TPP news with much trepidation. My partner is a librarian-archivist, so I'm keenly away of how difficult copyright law can make the job of the average archivist. I put together a piece explaining how the TPP's copyright extension will hurt Canadian city archives, and the galleries of historical city photos we love so much." Read the rest

The next Librarian of Congress: a Librarian of Progress?

For the first time in 28 years, the Library of Congress is about to get a new Librarian, a person with enormous influence over the Internet and American life. Read the rest

1930s ice-cream parlour hidden in Cincinnati's art deco railway station

Cincinnati's gorgeous art deco Union Terminal houses many museums -- and a beautifully preserved 1930s ice-cream parlour serving locally made ice-cream. Read the rest

Apollo mission treasures from Neil Armstrong's attic

Spocko sez, "After Neil Armstrong's death his widow, Carol, discovered a white, cloth bag in a closet, containing flight and space related artifacts." Read the rest

Alan Turing's lost notes discovered as crumpled insulation in Bletchley Park huts

After the war ended, Churchill ordered all of Bletchley's work -- the computers, the notebooks -- destroyed, but some of Alan Turing's notes were discovered between the walls of Hut 6 during a recent renovation, and are now on display at Bletchley Park. Read the rest

Museums and the future history of the information age

Last spring, I gave the keynote address at the Museums and the Web conference in Florence, Italy, speaking in the glorious confines of the big room at the Palazzo Vecchio; the organizers were kind enough to put my talk online. It was very well-received at the time and lots of people have since asked where they could get it -- and here it is! Read the rest

$100K life-size T-Rex skeleton replica

It's 40' long from nose to tail, is composed of 190 bones, is billed as "museum grade" and comes with an assembly crew that will stage it in any "anatomically possible" pose. His name is Stan. Read the rest

UK cultural institutions leave their WWI cases empty to protest insane copyright

They want the term of copyright changed to life plus 70 years, instead of 2039 for unpublished works of uncertain date, a standard that makes it impossible to reproduce or display things like letters home from the front. Read the rest

Human skull lyre

19th century, with antelope horn, skin, gut, hair; plucked from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Sadly, not on view at present. (via Kelly the Mortal Girl) Read the rest

Perot Science Museum missing tiny climate exhibit (but there's lots about fracking!)

The $185M Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas has a lot of positive info on the wonders of fracking, but a tiny panel explaining climate change in the original plans never made it into the joint. In fact, none of the exhibits at the Perot mention climate change -- not the display on water, not the display on weather, and certainly not the display on the miracle of shale gas.

The hall where the climate change panel was meant to hang was endowed by American oil baron Trevor Rees-Jones and bears his name. A natural gas exec on the museum's board says that climate is "too complex and fast-changing to tackle in a permanent exhibit." And the Perot is not alone: as the Dallas Morning News points out, science museums all over the USA wrestle with how to present the overwhelming scientific consensus on issues like climate and evolution. Read the rest

Dream Cars: the lost wonders of the automotive age

Dream Cars, an exhibition at Atlanta's High Museum, features the most amazing, doomed, gorgeous automotive designs of the automotive age. Streamlined or blobby, three-wheeled or magnificently finned, these are the cars that leapt off the cover of popular science pulps and into the showrooms, where they died an obscure death. The museum's site has some beautiful photos and curatorial notes on each of the cars in the exhibition, which runs to Sept 7. Read the rest

Harvard Bluebook: more threats to those who would cite the law

Carl Malamud writes, "On May 16, Boing Boing brought us the story of five years of intimidation on the Uniform System of Citaiton required in the United States, a system otherwise known as The Bluebook. Based on your story, a stern keep off the grass warning was dispatched from the ever-growing Bluebook Legal Task Force at the eminent white shoe firm of Ropes & Gray." Read the rest

Met releases 400,000 hi-rez scans for free download, claims copyright over the public domain

Robbo sez, "The Metropolitan Museum of Art has just released almost 400,000 visual works in an online searchable database. The images are high rez (10 megapixels) and free to download. Thank you Met!"

Well, yeah, except the terms and conditions pretend that the Met can tell you how you're allowed to use public domain art (!). Lucky for the Met that such conditions are null and void, otherwise they wouldn't be able to scan and share these images in the first place. Sheesh! Remember, faithful reproductions of works in the public domain do not attract new copyrights, as a matter of well-settled US law.

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