MOA Presents Cabinet of Curiosities

This exhibit has been extended through December 11!

This summer’s featured exhibit, MOA’s Cabinet of Curiosities,  evokes the setting of an original cabinet of curiosities, a privately held collections of exotic and extraordinary objects.   These collections, also known as wunderkammern, or wonder rooms, first appeared in mid-sixteenth century Europe and can be seen as the precursors to modern museums. They often included objects related to many different disciplines, including fine art, natural history, and anthropology. The MOA’s exhibit features a wide range of ethnographic and archaeological artifacts, showcasing the diversity of the Museum’s permanent collection, while providing detailed information on the objects and cultures.


MOA student employee Lindsay Gilliland and Interim Assistant Director Sara Cromwell examine a crocodile fetish from Papua New Guinea in MOA’s Cabinet of Curiosities.

MOA’s Cabinet of Curiosities was curated by student employees Lindsay Gilliland, Irene Kim, Madeline Stone, and Olivia Whitener, along with Salem College intern Kerri Howell under the direction of Interim Assistant Director Sara Cromwell and Museum Educator Tina Smith. The students visited the MOA’s collections storage to select objects that they thought were the most interesting. They then conducted research and wrote label text that was compiled into an exhibit guidebook. The project provided the students with real world experience and insight into the many steps of creating an exhibit. Lindsay Gilliland called the experience “by far one of the most interesting things I’ve done at Wake Forest.”

With objects ranging from life-sized brass leopards to Aboriginal dot paintings, from an Egyptian mummy casing to a necklace of human teeth, and from Amazonian poison darts to Kachina dolls, the exhibit is sure to inspire curiosity about peoples and cultures around the world.



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