The idea of a “Cabinet of Curiosities” (or in German—a “wunderkammer” or Wonder Cabinet) is a centuries-old idea. Collectors—usually wealthy, as they had the means to travel around the world—would display items that they gathered in their travels. “Curiosities” of the animal, plant, and man-made spheres would all be displayed side by side, with no adherence to categorization or organization as we know them in today’s museums.
The original cabinets were arranged to tell stories. Sometimes the story was as simple as “Hey! Look at all the amazing things I’ve got!!”, but often the story went deeper and could reveal ideas about the interconnectedness of things.
This is our Museum’s Cabinet of Curiosities, these are Humboldt stories, and this is our way of saying “Hey! Look at all the amazing things we’ve got!”. Use your imagination to explore the items by playing the Match Game, Thing-A-Museum or the Pop Quiz Game! You can also download either of the answer sheets to learn about each item in the exhibit. Enjoy!
Use your imagination to make up a name for each item and what it might have been used for. See how many different ideas you and your friends and family can dream up!