By Colleen J. Sheehy

The richly illustrated essays in cupboard of Curiosities documents the inventive procedures in the back of an deploy designed via modern artist Mark Dion on the Frederick R. Weisman artwork Museum on the college of Minnesota, a collaboration of museum employees, scholars, and assortment curators. Drawing from collage collections, Dion and the curators selected seven-hundred gadgets consultant of the state’s background, starting from a Bierstadt portray of Minnehaha Falls to Hubert Humphrey memorabilia, in addition to items that will have interested Renaissance viewers—such as mirrors and the world’s smallest plant—and prepared them into different types common of Renaissance inquiry, resembling the Underworld, the ocean, Humankind, and the Library. jointly, the cupboards represented the collage in miniature, simply as their Renaissance precursors had tried to symbolize microcosms of the area. cupboard of Curiosities bargains statement at the ways that amassing has undergirded the construction of data inside of universities and in Western society. Colleen J. Sheehy is director of schooling on the Frederick R. Weisman paintings Museum and affiliate college in American stories and paintings background on the collage of Minnesota. released in cooperation with the Frederick R. Weisman paintings Museum

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So I’m always somewhere in the bottomless quagmire of giving and getting, spending and letting. That led to further, mostly silent panic when I saw your prototype drawings—when I saw the “kinds” of things we would have to find within OSU. I never had a single doubt that OSU contained within its endless chambers enough suitable objects to correspond to the proposition the sequence of cabinets was making: the visual evolution of knowledge, the declension of objects that would correspond to how nature had come to be channeled into the scientific disciplines.

I honestly did not know what we would find, but did know, or strongly suspected, that an institution the size of OSU was almost certain to have a number of collections of objects once related to teaching or research but no longer credible as teaching devices. Some of these objects might now have become abject and forgotten (located in a broom closet, for example); some might be privately retained by faculty for sentimental or novelty value; some might be transferred to properly held research or archive or library vaults.

Could also be seen as one version of the history of the University of Minnesota. This was not a “greatest hits” of university collections or history, displaying the most significant, most valuable, oldest, or most rare objects. Rather, our selections showed our own interests, values, and biases as well as what was possible to accomplish under our circumstances and depending on what curators were willing to lend. For example, nothing represented recent University of Minnesota Medical School achievements or activities, even though that school is one of the most prestigious areas of the institution, and there were several possible reasons for this omission.

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