The Case of the Missing Mural

A Leonardo da Vinci mural not seen for 500 years and an engineer on a quest to find it, spurred on by the inscription Cerca trova, or "Search, you shall find." Sounds like the makings of a great mystery! Listen to the story of da Vinci’s mural, The Battle of Anghiari, on NPR’s Weekend Edition.

Need to do some art investigation of your own? Check out the Grove Dictionary of Art database to find artist biographies and images of their work.

A Few Fun Facts about George

Our first president, George Washington was born on this day,
February 22 in 1732. Did you know?

1. His dentures were carved from a hippopotamus tusk.
2. By the time he was 30, he had survived malaria, smallpox, pleurisy and dysentary. He had been shot at twice and fell off a raft into icy water.
3. He liked playing cards, hunting foxes, horse racing and dancing. He gave his hound dogs names like "Sweet Lips" and "Tarter."
4.He snored very loudly.
5. There are 33 counties, seven mountains, nine colleges and 121 post offices named after him.
6. He gave the shortest inaugural address which was only 133 words long and took 90 seconds to deliver.
(Facts culled from the The Writers Almanac).

For more information about Washinton, check out this great website from the the Smithsonian.

Meet Mat in Malaysia, in Lat's Graphic Novel, Kampung Boy

Kampung Boy by one of the most beloved cartoonists of Southeast Asia, Lat tell the story of Mat, a Muslim boy growing up on a rubber plantation in rural 1950s Malaysia. The sequel, Town Boy follows Mat as he attends boarding school, moves to the city and experiences budding romance and a growing passion for art. Recently available in the US Lat's autobiographical stories will take you to a time and a place that barely exists in Malaysia anymore. The warm and expressive pen-and-ink drawings will draw you into Mat's world.

Presidential locks, clips, and snips

In honor of President's Day, The Academy of Natural Sciences museum is exhibiting the locks, clips, and snips of presidential hair from their collection of hair albums. Curious? Check out their online exhibit.

Want to learn more about a former president? Find presidential biographies, articles, websites (and no hair!) in our Biography Resource Center database.

Make a Mobile of Peace

Do you like being creative and learning about history too? The Ann Arbor Community Center will celebrate Black History Month with an art workshop on February 23 from 2-3pm. Learn about Martin Luther King while creating a mobile with the guidance of staff from Abrakadoodle. Call 662-3128 to reserve your place in this free workshop.

Happy Birthday Ernie

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It's not spring until you hear Ernie Harwell open the baseball season with ...

For the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of the song of the birds has come,
And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.

Ernie turns 90 on Friday, Jan. 25th. Both the News and Free Press have done nice articles on Ernie. Here's hoping Ernie opens many more Tiger seasons.

Chess as psychic murder...?

...at least at the highest levels, according Bobby Fischer. With his death on January 17th, 2008 (at the age of 64), now might be a good time to look at his life and game he loved.

He was the first (and currently only) World Chess Championn from America (unless you count Wilhelm Steinitz, who won in 1886 but didn't become an American citizen until 1888). Fischer took the title in 1972; since the previous seven champions were Russian, this created quite a stir in a cold-war crazed world. Three years later he forfeited his title and fell into relative (and enigmatic) obscurity.

Want to know more? For details on his life, try a general biography, but I recommend you skip right to the good stuff and read Bobby Fischer Goes to War, which focuses on his championship-winning game. To truly understand him you also really need to read the books he wrote on chess. His strategy is pretty advanced, however, so you might want to start with a simpler book on chess (we have many, for all age groups and skill levels).

The Goose is Golden

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Goose Gossage entered the National Baseball Hall of Fame today, joining 285 other greatest of the great in America's pastime. Gossage joins the Pride of the Yankees and the Bambino and way too many others from the team we all love to hate.

The More Things Change ...

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"The question of street repairs and improvements will always be with you and cannot be too thoroughly studied." So said the Mayor of Ann Arbor. No, not Mayor Hieftje in 2008, but Mayor Francis M. Hamilton in 1905. The collection of Council Minutes and Proceedings of the City of Ann Arbor in the Local History Room at the Downtown Branch of the Ann Arbor District Library provides ample proof that elected officials may come and go (and come again) but the issues, concerns and downright quirkiness of Tree Town remain constant.

But Wait ... There's More

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The Local History Room at the Ann Arbor District Library also boasts a complete run of the Ann Arbor Observer from 1976 as well as the Observer's City Guide from 1987. We use the Observer constantly at the Reference Desk to answer all questions local. The covers alone are worth a visit!

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