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BYU's Lee Library to celebrate 50 years with unusual exhibit

Hippo teeth, sharp daggers and a window from Hitler’s bunker are just a few of the unusual artifacts that will be featured in the Harold B. Lee Library’s new rotating exhibit, “Cabinet of Curiosities,” opening Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011, to celebrate the library’s semicentennial.

The Lee Library, which opened in 1961 at Brigham Young University, will showcase the rare objects in a series of seven gallery groupings at the third level exhibit space, just behind the main entrance’s east security desk.

Throughout the year, visitors will be able to learn about the collection, preservation and history of these BYU artifacts not typically available for viewing by the public, for free.

“We wanted to pull out some items we don’t circulate,” said Roger Layton, curator for the exhibit. “These items are interesting, but the stories behind them are even more so.”

Every six weeks throughout the year, a new exhibit will rotate the artifacts, normally kept within the L. Tom Perry Special Collections.

“This will highlight some of the best collections of the library,” Layton said.

Among other items to be displayed are digital art, papyri pieces, university archive artifacts, a full-sized handcart, a 1950s Mormon board game, items from the famous Berlin Candy Bomber and a Nordic king’s helmet from Cecil B. DeMille’s 1935 film, “The Crusades.”

For more information about the “Cabinet of Curiosities,” contact Roger Layton, communications manager for the library and curator for the exhibit, at (801) 422-6687 or See for information on the exhibits as they open.

Writer: Philip Volmar

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