Mar 4, 2011

The Walker Library of Human Imagination.

The Walker Library is a private library owned by Jay Walker in his house in Connecticut, and is described at as follows: 

Set on three maze-like levels, it showcases a collection of thousands of rare books, artworks, maps and manuscripts as well as museum-quality artifacts both modern and ancient. Both the Library and the collection are dedicated to an overarching theme: The History of Human Imagination — humanity’s intellectual and emotional adventure of discovery, learning, and creativity.The genesis of the Library occurred in the mid-1990s based on Jay Walker’s passion for history, technology and the scope of human invention. After six years of planning and computer modeling, the Library was constructed in 2002.

Among other artifacts it contains the following items:
  • An original 1957 Russian Sputnik, the world’s first space satellite (one of several backups built by the USSR) and the U.S. response, a Vanguard satellite made from surviving parts of the actual American satellite that blew up on the launch pad.
  • Jewel-encrusted illuminated manuscripts and a complete Bible handwritten on sheepskin, from 1240 AD.
  • The first illustrated history book, printed in 1493; the first illustrated medical book from 1499; the first medical book to illustrate the human brain in 1550; and a copy of the 1664 Micrographia, the first book to illustrate the astounding images seen through the very first microscopes.
  • An instruction manual for a Saturn V rocket, along with a signed American flag carried to the surface of moon and back on the first lunar landing.
  • A spectacular chandelier from the James Bond movie “Die Another Day,” internally lit by thousands of computer-controlled LEDs.
  • The napkin on which President Franklin D. Roosevelt jotted down his plan to win World War II, just four months after Pearl Harbor… and the Top Secret memo written by the General with whom FDR was having lunch… and which kept FDR’s napkin classified until 1966.
  • One of two known Anastatic Facsimiles of the original 1776 Declaration of Independence (made directly from the original using a wet-copy process).
  • A specially commissioned, internally lit sculpture by Clyde Lynds, depicting a massive book whose facing pages symbolize humanity’s search for knowledge both on the cosmic scale, and on the scale of the human mind.
  • A 1699 atlas containing the first maps to show the sun, not the earth, as the center of the known universe. ("This map, by far the most important map in history, divides the Age of Faith from the Age of Reason,” says Jay.)
  • A finely detailed book, filled with text and pictures, woven entirely in silk using Jacquard loom cards. These cards were the forerunners of the modern computer punch card — but the book was created in 1868.
  • A leaf from a Gutenberg Bible, the first book printed using movable type.

This video gives us the chance to take a look at the library and to what it contains. It looks like a quite interesting place to pay a (quite) long visit to:

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