Opening

REVELATIONS For more than thirty years the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center has stood on a corner of the UT-Austin campus like a colossal intellectual tease. You could go into the center and ask to see a specific item—say, Charles Baudelaire's original proof sheets of Les Litanies de Satan (with handwritten corrections) or Joseph Nicéphore Niépce's View From the Window at le Gras (the world's first photograph)—but except for the occasional off-site exhibit, the collection was remarkably inaccessible. Until now. On May 13 the center opens 20,000 square feet of exhibition space where temporary installations will highlight pieces from its holdings of more than 36 million manuscripts, 1 million rare books, 5 million photographs (Helmut Gernsheim's St. Paul's Cathedral, Spiral staircase looking down, 1939), and more than 100,000 works of art. "In a New Light," the inaugural show, features nearly 300 items, including the first printed edition of Dante's Commedia and Leatherface's mask from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre . If you're curious about a particular piece that isn't on display, the librarians will bring it to you in the 20,000-square-foot refurbished research area. But oftentimes it is the thing about which you previously knew nothing that enlightens and inspires—and for that, the exhibit space is invaluable. ( See Austin: Museums/Galleries. )

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