The Cabinet of Curiosities in the Ruth Warner Towne Visitors Center.

Dr. Sara Orel is teaching a new course this semester in Museum Studies.  The class is designed to provide students with an introduction to both the practical and theoretical sides of the field.  In addition to classroom activities, they have worked with the local Adair County Historical Society to write grant proposals, with the University Gallery to take down an exhibit and hang the next one, and with the E.M. Violette Museum to help organize the storage space.  The first project for the semester was to collect objects for and install a “Cabinet of Curiosities,” a sample of the collections we have at Truman State University, both in departments and faculty personal collections.  Rich individuals and families of the Renaissance and later would have a display case or even a room filled with a wide variety of natural and man-made “curiosities” to show their education and sophistication, and these collections eventually developed into some of the world’s great museums.  At Truman, we included geological and biological specimens, intriguing tools, scientific and musical instruments, art objects (including reproductions), and a wide variety of fascinating artifacts to reproduce one of these old-style collections. 

 The official “opening” for the exhibit will be during the Student Research Conference on April 17th, but if you wander by the Ruth Warner Towne Visitors Center now, you can see the case on display.

Objects in cabinet
Objects in the Cabinet of Curiosities include handmade screwdrivers, an alligator purse, nineteenth-century dancing slippers, Coptic dolls from Egypt, and fragments of the Berlin Wall.

Art history majors examine a bat
Art History majors Danielle Bell (freshman), Rebecca Pursley (senior), and April Johnston (sophomore) examine some of the stuffed animals loaned by the Biology Department to the display.