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A shrine for unusual objects and the precursor of the modern museum, Wunderkammers are the 16th century equivalent to a student’s trapper keeper binder. Ranging in size from a small cabinet to a room lined with shelves and drawers, these collections housed rare artifacts, preserved specimens, objects discovered in foreign lands, works of art, and anything else the owner may find to be particularly interesting.
Wunderkammers were created to make the viewer wonder. Wondering what the MSU Libraries has to do with these interesting cabinets? Special Collections has just acquired a desk-sized Wunderkammer created by the artists Barbara Hodgson and Claudia Cohen. It includes a marvelous tunnel book depicting a room-sized Wunderkammer.
Want more information on how Wunderkammers are still starting conversation today? Check out a recent New York Times article that explores how the Wunderkammer lets today’s historians have a curious glimpse into the past. nyti.ms/XzcfOX
Pictured above: the Wunderkammer by Barbara Hodgson and Claudia Cohen can be enjoyed in the Special Collections Reading Room.
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