History & Special Collections for the Sciences has purchased each new release of GIANTmicrobes® since 2004 and recently passed the century mark. 108 “plush stuffed-animal microbes [realia]” currently are on display in a case in the lobby of the Biomedical Library.
GIANTmicrobes are made to look like bacteria, blood cells, viruses, and other microbes and critters magnified up to a million times, but in plush fabric with added eyes. Each toy is accompanied by explanatory text on a hangtag card with a color illustration of the actual microbe on which the toy is based.
The Library uses GIANTmicrobes in exhibits and classes alongside rare books and manuscripts on related subjects, from bed bugs to cholera to typhoid fever. We are one of a very few libraries which are cataloging and preserving the educational toys for future generations, so that in 50 or 100 years researchers and visitors may come across a rack of carefully-stored “plush stuffed-animal microbes” and wonder, “what the heck are …”
(Image from <http://www.giantmicrobes.com> is reproduced with permission of the company.)
History & Special Collections for the Sciences
UCLA Library Special Collections
Original blog post from UCLA Library Special Collections blog