We need an Antiques Roadshow for Wunderkammer!


Joanna of Morbid Anatomy is on a quest to locate private collections of medical oddities. She's already sussed out fourteen such hidden wunderkammern and photographed their treasures, but she wants to find more:

"Who are these private collectors, and what sort of treasures do they possess? How might their methods of displaying collections differ from institutional approaches? Are we reaching a historical moment similar to the pre-museum era of private cabinets, in which the most interesting artifacts are now in private rather than public hands?"

It's a really interesting question. Wunderkammern were not originally institutional - these cabinets were in private hands, and their organizational philosophies emerged from the idiosyncratic worldviews of their owners and/or curators. Today, such collections could easily die with their owners - broken up and auctioned off, or simply thrown out as rubbish. The beauty and value of taxidermic specimens, vintage gas masks, bottled fetuses and prosthetic limbs are not readily apparent to everyone! And it's unlikely that a steampunk version of Antiques Roadshow would have a large American audience (alas). So if you own or know of a collection that fits the bill, please contact Joanna, so she can document it for the public and posterity. (Owners can remain anonymous if they choose.)

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