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Wonders Great and Small: Superlatives from the Special Collections

This exhibition has been extended through May 19, 2019.

The Wilson Special Collections Library is filled with wonders. These rare, memorable and sometimes bizarre objects span millennia. They originate from across the globe, telling stories of courage, romance and humor.

Now, some of the biggest, oldest, rarest and most remarkable objects are on view for all to experience as part of the Wilson Library exhibition “Wonders Great and Small: Superlatives from the Special Collections.”

The exhibition is loosely based on the concept of senior superlatives that sometimes appear in yearbooks. They shed light on what life was like in North Carolina and around the world, in both the recent and distant past.

Among the items visitors will see is one of the tiniest objects in the University Libraries’ collections: a one-inch-high book of poetry by Robert Burns. The oldest is a cuneiform tablet—an early form of writing—dating from 2046 B.C.

In the “most revolutionary” category are first-hand accounts, photos and signs chronicling North Carolina’s political past, from the American Revolution through the civil rights movement of the 1960s and up to the Women’s March in 2017.

Some categories bring together items that would otherwise never be seen together. For example, “most North Carolinian” pairs Cherokee language instruction guides from the 1990s with a first-person account by Moses Roper, who escaped from slavery in Caswell County in 1833.

Visitors will also learn the inspiration behind Carolina Blue; discover one of North Carolina’s most unusual inventions—the self-kicking machine; cringe at an early tooth-extraction device; and see much more.

“Wonders Great and Small” will be on view in the Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Room through May 12, 2019. The exhibition is free and open to the public whenever Wilson Library is open.


Wonders Great and Small: Superlatives from the Special Collections
Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Room
Wilson Special Collections Library
January 18, 2019 – May 12, 2019  May 19, 2019
Free and open to the public
(919) 962-3765 or wilsonlibrary@unc.edu

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