Date(s) - 09/20/2021 - 10/23/2021
Bird Library, 1st Floor
A Modern Expression of the Cabinet of Curiosities
A cabinet of curiosities in the historical sense is a personal expression of interests and passions, expressed through the arrangement of privately owned objects. The concept came into vogue in 16th century Europe, where aristocratic gentlemen of means would accumulate objects of prestige to share with their peers as displays of wealth and intellect. Contents of these manicured collections included oddities from nature such as taxidermy and fossils, as well as historic relics and other (often pilfered) tangible heritage. Today when the usefulness things of wonder and amusement come to an end they are often discarded. A majority end up in landfills or burned, but on occasion the lucky few are passed on via thrift store or garage sale or roadside salvage to a new owner. Through abandonment their original significance is stripped away, leaving shadows in plastic, metal, and glass waiting for new contexts and juxtapositions to bring them meaning. This exhibit highlights a small fraction of our collective culture’s flotsam and jetsam.