Ayun Halliday, Open Culture

Ayun Halliday

Open Culture

New York, NY, United States

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  • Open Culture
  • Narratively

Recent articles by Ayun:

Why 99% Of Smithsonian’s Specimens Are Hidden In High-Security

Museums are the memory of our culture and they’re the memory of our planet. - Dr. Kirk Johnson, Director, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History For many of us natural history museums are emblematic of school field trips, or rainy day outings with (or as) children. → Read More

The Oldest House in New York City: Meet the Wyckoff House (1652)

Most 21st-century Brooklyn public elementary schoolers have taken or will take a field trip to the Wyckoff House, a modest wooden cabin surrounded by tire shops and fast food outlets. → Read More

Discover DALL-E, the Artificial Intelligence Artist That Lets You Create Surreal Artwork

DALL-E, an artificial intelligence system that generates viable-looking art in a variety of styles in response to user supplied text prompts, has been garnering a lot of interest since it debuted this spring. → Read More

Julia Child Shows Fred Rogers How to Make a Quick & Delicious Pasta Dish (1974)

Julia Child and Fred Rogers were titans of public television, celebrated for their natural warmth, the ease with which they delivered important lessons to home viewers, and, for a certain sector of the viewing public, how readily their personalities lent themself to parody. → Read More

The Hand Puppets That Bauhaus Artist Paul Klee Made for His Young Son

My kids used to beg their dad to help out with their impromptu puppet shows. He complied by having our daughter's favorite baby doll deliver an interminable curtain speech, hectoring the audience (me) to become subscribers and make donations via the small envelope they'd find tucked in their programs. → Read More

Watch a Never-Aired TV Profile of James Baldwin (1979)

In 1979, just a couple of months into his stint with 20/20, ABC’s fledgling television news magazine, producer and documentarian Joseph Lovett was “beyond thrilled” to be assigned an interview with author James Baldwin, whose work he had discovered as a teen. → Read More

Wearable Books: In Medieval Times, They Took Old Manuscripts & Turned Them into Clothes

I like old newspaper, smoothing it out to read about what was happening on the day an older relative packed away the good crystal or some other fragile tchotchke. Traveling in India, I dug how the snacks I purchased to eat on the train came wrapped in old book pages. → Read More

How to Enter a ‘Flow State’ on Command: Peak Performance Mind Hack Explained in 7 Minutes

You can be forgiven for thinking the concept of “flow” was cooked up and popularized by yoga teachers. That word gets a lot of play when one is moving from Downward-Facing Dog on through Warrior One and Two. → Read More

A 108-Year-Old Woman Recalls What It Was Like to Be a Woman in Victorian England

The perils of old age—dementia, economic insecurity, social isolation—are receiving a lot of attention these days. → Read More

Footage of Flappers from 1929 Restored & Colorized with AI

The flapper is the Roaring 20s' enduring emblem - a liberated, young woman with bobbed hair, rolled down stockings, and a public thirst for cocktails. → Read More

Watch Sir Ian McKellen's 1979 Master Class on Macbeth's Final Monologue

If only we could have had a teacher as insightful as Sir Ian McKellen explain some Shakespeare to us at an impressionable age. Above, a 38-year-old McKellen breaks down Macbeth’s famous final soliloquy as part of a 1978 master class in Acting Shakespeare. → Read More

The History of Birth Control: From Alligator Dung to The Pill

The history of birth control is almost as old as the history of the wheel. Pessaries dating to Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt provide the launching pad for documentarian Lindsay Holiday's overview of birth control throughout the ages and around the world. → Read More

Explore a Big Archive of Vintage Early Comics: 1700-1929

The popularity of graphic novels (and more than a few extremely lucrative superhero movie franchises) have conferred respectability on comics. → Read More

Hear Singers from the Metropolitan Opera Record Their Voices on Traditional Wax Cylinders

Vinyl is back in a big way. Music lovers who booted their record collections during the compact disc’s approximately 15 year reign are scrambling to replace their old favorites, even in the age of streaming. They can’t get enough of that warm analog sound. → Read More

Draw Along with Beloved Cartoonist & Educator Lynda Barry: Free Drawing Exercises Online

How do you rescue a day that’s gone pear shaped? Stopping to drink a glass of water is one of our longtime go tos. If there's a box of matches handy, we might perform Yoko Ono’s Lightning Piece. → Read More

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Launches Free Course on Looking at Photographs as Art

Not content with banning selfie sticks, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is bringing visual literacy to the masses via its first foray into the world of MOOCs (aka “massive open online courses”). → Read More

Ergonomics Experts Explain How to Set Up Your Desk

Ergonomics aren't a joke, Jim. - Dwight Schrute, The Office Technological innovations are snowballing faster than ever in the third decade of the 21st-century. A home office set-up that would have been cause for pride in 2019 seems woefully inadequate now. → Read More

What Ancient Latin Sounded Like, And How We Know It

Latin is a language As dead as dead can be; It killed the Romans long ago, And now it's killing me. → Read More

Kurt Vonnegut Maps Out the Universal Shapes of Our Favorite Stories

Imagine a hat. Flip it upside down, and you’ve got yourself the outline of a story the public will never weary of, according to author Kurt Vonnegut, who maps it on out a chalkboard in the video above. His Y-axis charts a range between good and ill fortune. → Read More

Watch Helen Keller & Teacher Annie Sullivan Demonstrate How Helen Learned to Speak (1930)

Knowing the transformative effect an inspired teacher can have on an “unreachable” student, one can only hope that geography and luck will conspire to bring the two together at an early point in the child’s development. → Read More