Creating a Curio Cabinet

One of my favorite projects for the At-Home Summer Nature Camp eCurriculum was creating a curio cabinet. Cabinets of curiosities have long been kept by collectors. During the Renaissance era, cabinets, and even entire rooms, were filled with natural objects, art, and antiques. In Victorian times, curiosity cabinets reflected a passion for science, natural history, and travel. Did you know some of the largest curiosity cabinets were the beginnings of the world's greatest public museums?
My cabinet was picked up at a yard sale some time ago. I wanted to photograph it completely full for the eCurriculum (where I offer tips for creating a curio cabinet with kids over the course of the summer), so luckily, I already had baskets, boxes, and shelves full of collected nature items, ready for display. This project was so much fun I had to share it! I could only fit a few of my images in the pages of the summer camp, so here's a closer look...
A nest, collected from my bougainvillea bush, found feathers and egg shells corralled in small containers, and rocks.

Seashells, a sand dollar, coral, a seed pod from the sweet gum tree, bark, lichen, a wasp nest, a dried & pressed sunflower leaf, and beetle & dragonfly specimens.
Acorn lids, more sea treasures, an air plant, and a homemade pin board featuring wasp and butterfly specimens, a fern leaf, and a lizard skeleton.
Fresh lavender, dried dill head, wild iris seed pods, a feather painting by my daughter, pine cones, painted coral, dried calendula petals, leaves, and a homemade seashell frog!
 Collected cocoons from our butterfly house, nut shells, and a log book for tracking displayed items.
* If you like this idea, or love collecting, you must check out The Life of a Bowerbird: Creating Beautiful Interiors with the Things You Collect. Author Sibella Court takes displaying found & gathered items to a whole new level! My mother turned me on to this alluring book recently and neither of us can quite get enough!
bowerbird: an Australian avian known for decorating her
nest with all manner of eclectic treasures


Rose said...

I LOVE THIS! And I HAVE to see that book!

I did something similar recently, by turning the bookcase that houses our nature table into its own little natural history museum. So now, our seasonal table sits on top, and our permanent collection resides below. It seems like such a shame to get rid of the really great treasures from the seasonal table, so now we have them on display year-round.

I loved (and Pinned) this image, and you probably will too!


Rachel G said...

I love this too - reminds me of the Swiss Cottage Museum at Osborne House (one image on Google - contents too old & fragile to photograph). Queen Victoria's 9 children stored their treasures and collections there & my two love looking round - there always seems to be something we haven't noticed before! Current favourites are chunks of petrified wood, a 10-legged tarantula and the world's smallest pair of scissors...

Liz ~ A Natural Nester said...

Rose, I'd love to see your nature museum! And yes, I have that image pinned too. :-)

Rachel, I would LOVE to step inside that cottage of curiosities. Thanks for sharing!