NPR logo Anatomy Of The Tiny Desk

I Heart NPR

Anatomy Of The Tiny Desk

The area around Bob Boilen's desk in the NPR Music office has become a favorite performance space for musicians traveling through Washington, D.C. Katie Burk/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Katie Burk/NPR

The area around Bob Boilen's desk in the NPR Music office has become a favorite performance space for musicians traveling through Washington, D.C.

Katie Burk/NPR

When Bob Boilen and Stephen Thompson at NPR Music began the Tiny Desk Concerts a few years ago, they had no idea they were launching what would become a choice performance spot for both fans and musicians. Bob's workspace, like some of the best venues, is beloved for its character and the vibe it creates in addition to the talent it features. You can immediately recognize where in the world a musician is standing when you see those tightly packed wooden shelves in the background.

So if you're like us, it invites the question: What exactly is all that stuff back there?

We spoke with the Tiny Desk curators Boilen and Thompson, along with Boilen's All Songs Considered co-host Robin Hilton, about the eclectic mix of items on those shelves and discovered it's not just a random assortment of clutter. Turns out, the Tiny Desk collection embodies something fundamental to all things NPR: stories. Scroll through the slideshow to discover how these items became ornaments of the Tiny Desk.

Take a photo tour of the Tiny Desk in the slideshow below, with stories and descriptions of the souvenirs and items adorning the performance space from members of the NPR Music team. Katie Burk/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Katie Burk/NPR

Take a photo tour of the Tiny Desk in the slideshow below, with stories and descriptions of the souvenirs and items adorning the performance space from members of the NPR Music team.

Katie Burk/NPR

Again, this is just a handful of our favorites from the collection. If you've noticed something in the background and wondered about it, feel free to let us know in the comments section. We'll try to investigate.