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“Cabinets of Curiosity” – Items of Interest from Special Collections

  • Posted by: Alice Bampton
  • Posted Date: August 4, 2016
  • Filed Under: Library News

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“Cabinets of Curiosity,” the latest exhibit from Falvey’s Special Collections, will be on view until early September. Laura Bang, Digital and Special Collections curatorial assistant who created the exhibit, says, “ ’Cabinets of Curiosity’ highlights some of our less frequently displayed materials … I love these ‘hodge-podge’ exhibits because they give us a chance to show some of the great stuff that doesn’t fit in our regular themed exhibits, like the stereocope viewer. ”

Bang explains, “A Cabinet of Curiosities was a collection of artifacts deemed unusual or interesting largely because they represented areas where knowledge was limited or unknown. … These ‘cabinets (which were originally housed in rooms, rather than a piece of furniture such as we would call a cabinet) were especially popular in Renaissance Europe. This exhibit follows in the spirit of these historical collections by gathering together items of interest from Falvey Memorial Library’s Special Collections.” (Curator’s introduction to the exhibit.)

Materials included in this exhibit are varied, ranging from Samuel Tugentman’s scrapbook to a group of paperbacks written in French displayed in six cases. There are colorful children’s books; a September 1917 issue of “Needlecraft;” a small photograph album of the “No. 2 Northern Aircraft Repair Depot, Sheffield;” a 1918 card game, “America in the War … [World War I]; and perhaps of special interest to women, a small book titled “How to Get Married Although a Woman, by a Young Widow,” published in 1892.

The tall vertical case which houses the beginning of the exhibit contains the curator’s introduction and a variety of unique objects:  the middle shelf displays an antique stereo viewer (18850 and a collection of stereo photographs, “Hursts’ Stereoscopic Studies of Natural History: For Object Teaching in Schools and Parlor Entertainments (1870).” (The images appear in three dimensions when viewed in the stereoscope., the ancestor of the modern Viewmaster and its cards.) On the bottom shelf are selected items from the James D. Reap, Jr., World War II Collection: a canvas bag decorated with a girl’s head, a group of black and white photographs, a notebook with sketches and symbols related to radio communication, items from the USS Proteus and a portable volt and current meter in a wooden case.

Whatever your interests may be, there is surely something in this “Cabinets of Curiosity” that you will find appealing.

Michael Foight, Special Collections and Digital Library coordinator, helped Bang install the exhibit. Joanne Quinn, Communications and Marketing team leader and Falvey’s graphic artist, designed the graphics.


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Last Modified: August 4, 2016