Isle of Wight What's On Guide: 2023 Events OnTheWight

The Athanor

0740 5346388

17, Pier Street,
PO38 1ST Isle of Wight GB

Cabinet of Curiosities and micro-venue.

The Cabinets de Curiosités (Cabinets of Curiosities or Wonder-rooms) first appeared in the mid-16th Century and remained popular right up the late 18th Century. They were regarded as a microcosm or theatre of the world as well as a theatre of memory. Although it is common to think of a Cabinet of Curiosities as a cupboard with shelves or drawers to display objects, the term 'cabinet originally described a room rather than a piece of furniture.

Although Cabinets of Curiosities or Wonder-rooms are the precursors to modern museums, they are different to what we consider a modern arrangement of objects. In the late 18th Century, when the ideas of the Enlightenment - 'reason, orderliness, system, science' - were becoming more popular, Cabinets of Curiosities fell out of fashion and were replaced by the museums we know today.