Past the glass cases lined with Grecian urns and Roman armor, past the gift shop and the cafe dressed in Medieval stone archways, past the bronzes of Buddhist saints and paintings of Hindu gods, there are rooms at The Walters Art Museum lined with wooden cases that house some of the museum's richest collections. These rooms hold the institution's collection of ancient manuscripts, some dating back to the 8th century. And unless you happen to be a curator at the museum, you would never know that most of them existed, until now. With the help of a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Walters' staff are in the process of digitizing their entire collection of manuscripts, some of which are already available online and can be used in any way by the public.
I can't think of a better ways to waste a few hours online.
Here is just a taste of what is available:
"Three men gather in a garden and exchange poetic verses in this illustrated manuscript of a collection of short love poems by the famous Persian poet Nur al-Din "Abd al-Rahman Jami (d. 1492 CE). The verses inscribed on the illustrated page read: "Please sit for a while and extinguish my fire [of love] with your presence."(Origin: Iran)