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Our special exhibit The Secret Lives of Michigan Objects is broken up into several different sections. Each section addresses a different way that museums display, interpret, collect or care for objects. One of our staff’s favorite sections is called the “Cabinet of Curiosities.” Why is it a favorite? Because it’s filled with interesting and unusual artifacts that we rarely have a chance to display here at the Michigan History Museum.

Cabinets of curiosities aren’t all that common in museums today. Many museums, including the Michigan History Museum, prefer to tell a story by arranging objects that go together. A cabinet of curiosities is really just an arrangement of objects that are unusual or fun to look at. Because we almost never have the occasion to put together this kind of display, it was especially fun for our team. We didn’t keep all the fun for ourselves though! During the summer of 2019, we asked visitors to vote on which unusual objects they wanted to us to install. The objects that you will see in this video and on display were selected by those visitors.

Without further ado…press “play” and join historian Eric Perkins for a closer look at our cabinet of curiosities.

Our Cabinet of Curiosities

Join historian Eric Perkins for a closer look at the "Cabinet of Curiosities" in the Secret Lives of Michigan Objects special exhibit.

Secret Lives of Michigan Objects

On display through May 2020

Explore what it means to collect and care for the artifacts that tell Michigan's stories, from strange objects we've never displayed before to meaningful objects from your childhood. This special exhibit features plenty of opportunities to share your thoughts, give feedback, and even help decide which artifacts should be added!

Wide shot of the Secret Lives of Michigan Objects exhibit space with a large green introduction label in the foreground.

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