Strange History: Cabinets of Curiosities

The fine art of collecting is nothing new — Cabinets of Curiosities were collections that date back as far as the Rennaissance and were the historic equivalent of something between the modern day natural history museum and circus sideshow.

These Wunderkammern, as they are sometimes called, are just as popular as ever today, inspiring artists, designers and plenty of the spaces that we've featured here on Apartment Therapy.

While the urge to collect and organize didn't necessarily begin in the 15th and 16th centuries, it certainly took hold along with the growing fascination in science and art. Wealthy monarchs and merchants filled cabinets, or entire rooms, with bizarre and beautiful objects from animals to sculpture, jewelery and all manner of ephemera — a practice that continued well into modern times. While these collections may seem strange, they are a fascinating testament to our inexplicable, yet inescapable desire to collect and catalog the world around us. For more on Cabinets of Curiosities, see Wikipedia's article which includes a list of noteworthy collections throughout history.

CABINETS OF CURIOSITIES ON APARTMENT THERAPY:
• Photo 2: Cabinet of Curiosities of Bonnier de la Mosson
• Photo 3: Cabinets of Curiosities
• Photo 4: Michelle & Dylan's Curiosity Filled Apartment
• Photo 5: Briana's Salvaged Sanctuary
An Artist's Curiosity Shop: William Schaff's Studio

Images: Photo 1: Ole Worm's cabinet of curiosities, from ''Museum Wormianum'', 1655, Smithsonian Museum, via Wikimedia Commons, Photos 2-5, as linked above

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