Renaissance museums revealed

Natural history museums have their roots in the renaissance period, but they were not what they are today. Closer to cabinets of wonder than actual museums, they held objects mysterious, grotesque and intriguing.

Dr. Kim Perez, assistant professor of history at Fort Hays State University, attempts to enlighten the public on the contents of these mysterious collections with her presentation, "Wunderkammer and Cabinets of Curiosity: Natural History Museums in the Renaissance," at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14, in the Engel classroom at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History.

Renaissance natural history museums were typically not research minded. Instead, the rich nobility used them to demonstrate their power and ability to retrieve foreign artifacts from far-away exotic locations.

These seventeenth-century cabinets were filled with preserved animals, horns, tusks, skeletons and minerals, as well as other types of equally fascinating man-made objects such as clockwork machines or sculptures wondrously old, fine or small.

The presentation is one of many in a special series of events over the last eight months in celebration of Sternberg’s 10th anniversary. The presentation is free and open to the public.

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