Museums exist to inspire people to wonder and to facilitate creative thought. Given our curious natures and our innate desire to collect, it is no wonder that the grand modern museum has its humble roots firmly planted in the privately-owned collections of extraordinary objects from the past. These collections, called cabinets of curiosity, first became popular in the Renaissance and reached their pinnacle of popularity in the Victorian Era.
These collections of extraordinary natural and manmade objects were displayed in cabinets with many compartments, each filled with “treasures” reflecting man’s desire to find his place within the larger context of nature and the divine. In the fullness of time, and as the collections evolved and grew in importance, they were acquired by noblemen, gentlemen, and royalty. The collections were then integrated into larger collections eventually becoming so immense, as to occupy entire rooms. Many of these collections were eventually institutionalized and became the first public museums.
As an homage to its own history, the Houston Museum of Natural Science presents an interpretation of the cabinet of curiosity. Visitors will have the unique opportunity to peruse various objects of curiosity and wonder, up close and in a personal way.
Looking to pique your curiosity? Book our special HMNS Sleuths and Secrets to unlock the secrets hidden within our Cabinet of Curiosities.