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The Library of Congress in the US has an amazing collection of Musical Instruments

The rarest and the most unique collection of the musical instruments include the Stradivari violins and the library's collection of flutes, is the largest in the world


November 04, 2016: One of the marvels in the world, the Capitol Hill in Washington DC, houses the largest library in the United States- the Library of Congress. The library was built by an act of Congress on the year 1800.

But the largest library of the US does not only have a huge collection of millions of books and varieties of maps but it also possesses an amazing collection of musical instruments. The rarest and the most unique collection of the musical instruments include the ‘Cremonese collection’, the ‘Wilkins collection’ and the ‘Miller collection’ etcetera.

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The collection showcases some antique violins. These include the excellent creations by Antonio Stradivari. There are the violins- the Ward, the Betts and the Castelbarco, the Cassavetti viola and the Castelbarco cello, present in the collection. The Stradivari violins are known around the globe for their famous musical quality. According to VOA, Steve Miller, of the famed show ‘Did You Know’ reports that the Stradivari collection includes one that is a fine craftsmanship of 53 specialist craftsmen who reportedly signed their names inside. He also reports that this very piece is not displayed to the public. There is another one which has been on loan to the collection of the library since the year 1967.

Musical instruments
A Stradivari violin. Wikimedia

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As per reports from VOA, Miller’s confirmation, and the collection catalogue of the library, the collection owns a long stringed instrument and is a vintage possession among the musical instruments. Apart from the long-stringed instrument, the collection has an exquisite and beautifully carved hand-drum presented to the library by the king of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej, on the year 1960; as a token of sincere respect.

The collection of the musical instruments remains incomplete without the mention of the flutes. The library of Congress owns the world’s largest flute collection, as reported by Steve Miller. The most prized possession of the library- the flutes are not displayed to the public.  They are stored in drawers, hidden from the regular visitors and each item is perfectly catalogued in the journal of Dr. Dayton C Miller, who donated about 2000 flutes and other wind instruments to the library on 1941. It is referred as the popular ‘Miller Collection’.

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A poster for Sousa's 'Stars and Stripes Forever'. Wikimedia commons
A poster for Sousa’s ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’. Wikimedia

As per VOA’s reports, the curator of the musical instruments collections of the library, Carol Lynn Ward-Bamford, stated that Dr. Miller, who combined music with his talents and science, and created this collection, was one of the best collectors she had witnessed.

Steve Miller further says that one of the flutes from the collection was owned by a king and has an amazing feature that enables the player to switch its middle sections to change the pitch. Another, is the one that was played during the first ever performance of John Philip Sousa’s ‘Stars and Stripes forever’.

Apparently, considering one of the world’s most incredible collections of the vintage musical instruments, the Library of Congress has so much more to it than just books or maps. The collection is surely a rare one and adds to the charm of the largest library in the US.

 by Antara Kumar. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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U.S. Library of Congress will not collect every tweet on twitter

Developers can now access twitter archives. VOA
Developers can now access twitter archives. VOA

US, Dec 31, 2017: The U.S. Library of Congress says it will no longer collect every single tweet published on Twitter as it has been doing for the past 12 years.

The library said this week that it can no longer collect everything across the entire social media platform because of recent changes Twitter has made, including allowing longer tweets, photos and videos.

It said in a blog post this week that its first objective with collecting and archiving tweets was “to document the emergence of online social media for future generations.” The library says it has fulfilled that objective and no longer needs to be a “comprehensive” collector of tweets.

FILE - In this Dec. 19, 2013 file photo, the Library of Congress is seen in Washington.
FILE – In this Dec. 19, 2013 file photo, the Library of Congress is seen in Washington. VOA

The Library of Congress said it will still collect and archive tweets in the future, but will do so on a more selective basis. It said going forward “the tweets collected and archived will be thematic and event-based, including events such as elections, or themes of ongoing national interest, e.g. public policy.”

The library said it generally does not collect media comprehensively, but said it made an exception for public tweets when the social media platform was first developed.

The library said it will keep its previous archive of tweets from 2006-2017 to help people understand the rise of social media and to offer insight into the public mood during that time. “Throughout its history, the Library has seized opportunities to collect snapshots of unique moments in human history and preserve them for future generations,” it said.

“The Twitter Archive may prove to be one of this generation’s most significant legacies to future generations. Future generations will learn much about this rich period in our history, the information flows, and social and political forces that help define the current generation,” it said. (VOA)