A Cabinet of Curiosities is a collection of objects that reflect the diversity of the natural and human world. The goal of classifying the world through objects grew out of Renaissance and the Enlightenment scientific studies. Educated individuals would collect and display objects to serve as “a model of universal nature made private,” in the words of the scientist and philosopher Francis Bacon (1561-1626).
A Cabinet would include items that represented the worlds of Nature and Art. It might feature items found while on the “Grand Tour,” a coming-of-age trip through Italy and the Mediterranean for the young and wealthy. There would be scientific instruments designed to study objects in the collection, specimens of animals recent and ancient, and cultural artifacts from Europe and the exotic lands of Asia, Africa, and the Americas.