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For this project, we ask you what you want us to investigate and what stories you'd like us to tell.

What are the smallest and largest things inside UT Austin's collections?

A collection of silver canoes are tied together into a sculpture.
Gabriel C. Pérez
"Monochrome for Austin" is a sculpture by Nancy Rubins on the UT Austin campus. The piece is part of the university's public art program called Landmarks.

This video premiered at the ATXplained Live show at the Paramount Theatre on Sept. 28, 2022.

UT Austin has more than 170 million objects and specimens in its collections. These items span a large swath of the human experience, and they’re housed across campus, Austin and even Texas.

KUT listener Matthew Seaton wanted to know: What are the smallest and largest things inside the UT archives and special collections? So, he reached out to KUT’s ATXplained project.

Visuals Editor Gabriel C. Pérez set out to investigate. He quickly realized the answer may not be so simple; the terms “largest” and “smallest” can be applied in many measures — volume, mass, length, etc. In this video, tour four archives across the UT campus and listen to curators and researchers talk about items that, while distinct in their relative sizes, share similar purposes and meanings.

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