It’s no secret that I’m fascinated by the history of collecting in the early modern world. Cabinets of curiosities (or wunderkammern) function as both predecessors to the modern “museum” and reflections of the new scientific (and colonial) impulses rampant in Europe at the time–the need to hoard, categorize, and classify, seizing power by keeping a perfectly ordered microcosm within your vaults and chests and shelves.
Though I’m about as far from a sixteenth-century aristocrat as you can get, I share one thing with them: I love collecting curiosities from the natural world. Over time–and thanks to an extensive amount of beachcombing and thrifting–I’ve acquired the start of my own wunderkammer, which I hope will only continue to grow.
One part of my “collection” lives within my vintage child’s writing desk (because, apparently, I’m 8 years old and also from 1950). Displayed on this shelf are glass dragons inherited from my grandparents, specimen jars full of Pacific shells and sea glass, and embarrassingly enough, a map taken from a book that I adored when I was ten years old. It’s very silly, but as a kid, I loved Dragon-ology‘s attempt at recreating the “Victorian explorer” aesthetic–and what could better accompany a collection of treasures?
My other “wonders” are scattered throughout my room–in drawers, on dressers, or gathered up in glass bowls and specimen jars. I dream of the day when I might have a true cabinet in which to keep them: but for now, I’ve constructed a virtual “cabinet” below so you too can behold these marvels of nature!