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CabinetOfCuriosities

The Wonderkammer or Cabinet of Curiosities represents a physical encyclopedia of the world. The Ashmolean is the oldest public museum in Great Britain and was founded in 1677 based on the donation of a Cabinet of Curiosities.

I've run across a project by the Australian Science Archives Projectthat used an artistic representation of a cabinet of curiosities to explain the development of Australian Science.

One important artistic descendant of the Cabinet of Curiosities is the work of Joseph Cornell.



One could argue that the first ordering of the study of the past was the result of a disorderly cabinet of curiosities. The traditional story archaeologists tell of the creation of the tripartite system of Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages resulted from the Danish museum director Christian Jurgensen Thomsen who in 1836 imposed order on an incoherent museum collection.

Is the beginning of scientific thought then the imposition of order onto chaos?



Possibly so — think of Linneaus.

But just as putting things in order can help us to think about these things and perceive patterns, it can also blind us to what does not fit into the organizational scheme we are creating.

The story CollectingDust is about Leonard Ash the assembler of such a cabinet.

The Web Wunderkammer, "a collection of curiosites for study & grins," is calling for contributions.


References
New York Public Library Opens Its Cabinet of Curiosities for Exhibition of Unusual and Unexpected Items. May 16, 2002
http://www.nypl.org/press/curiosities2.html




Created by steve. Last Modification: Tuesday 22 of February, 2005 01:56:54 UTC by kristin.