The Contents of a Curiosity Cabinet

A cabinet of curiosities – or wunderkammer – stored and exhibited various objects and artefacts, particularly leaning towards the rare, eclectic and esoteric. They told a particular story about the world and its history through the selection of objects.

The cabinets commonly featured antiques, objects of natural history (such as stuffed animals, dried insects, shells, skeletons, shells, herbarium, and fossils) and even works of art. In cabinets of curiosities, collections were often organized into about four categories (called in Latin):

Artificialia, which groups the objects created or modified by humans (antiques, works of art);

Naturalia, which includes creatures and natural objects (with a particular interest in monsters);

Exotica, which includes exotic plants and animals; and

Scientifica, which brings together scientific instruments.