MELON TRACKS
Worldwide Weird Travel with Ben Osto
Special: Curious Cats
Ben Osto has launched a new interactive site in which contributors can submit images of odd things they possess for inclusion in a “curio” collection maintained on the web. The Web Wundekammer is meant to be an online version of the 19th century “Cabinet of Curiosities”. Small collections and museums of oddities created and maintained by individual collectors was a movement beginning in the 1700s, which then rose to popularity during the 1800s. I, personally, began my interest in cabinets of curiosities after visiting several small, personal museums such as Elisabeth Tashjian’s Nut museum. Elizabeth is a woman who not only collected nut paraphernalia in her large dusty home and painted tributes to this passion, but also sang her self-created songs about nuts to those visitors who graced her home and passion. As I recall, at one point in her self-directed tour of the museum, Elizabeth would don a “nut” mask (one of many she made) and peering though the two small eyeholes would ask. “What kind of nut am I?”

You should also know that there was once a “potato” museum in the basement of one of our constituent’s homes in our nation’s capital. I recall that during my tour of the exhibits, a woman came down the basement stairs, removed the back wall of the museum with exhibits attached and put it to the side, revealing a washer and dryer, from which she transferred a load of wash to dry and left. At another time, in another state (New Jersey) and another curator’s basement (Herman Abrams - archaeologist of himself), I was shown a collection of Thanksgiving Day wishbones (unbroken) from many, many, Thanksgiving days’ past.

If you find that you are interested in the topic, as I have described, and would like to investigate “cabinets of curiosities” further, on your own, then let me suggest you visit the following museums to start.
-The Jurassic Museum of Technology, Los Angeles, California
-The Sir Sloane Home and Museum, London, England
-
Web Wundekammer.

Click on the images to go there.
Mutter Museum,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Joseph Steward's Cabinet, Hartford, Connecticut
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