What’s Happening at the Library: ‘Cabinet of Wonders’ exhibit coming to Ky.

Published 12:26 pm Monday, September 9, 2019

This week, the Clark County Public Library received email from Kate Sprengnether, operations and events manager of the University of Kentucky Art Museum.

She was promoting a Cabinet of Wonders exhibition the Museum will host from Jan. 25 until May 31, 2020.

The Cabinet of Wonder exhibition will imitate collections of wondrous objects — everything from natural objects to historical artifacts — wealthy and royal individuals used to display in their residences or in public spaces.

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These Cabinets of Wonder were the first museums. “Cabinet” here means collection, not closet.

A famous contemporary “Cabinet of Wonder” is Malplaquet House in London, a 20-room Georgian home stuffed with curiosities from floor to ceiling and along the stairways. Do a web search for Malplaquet House. You’ll be amazed.

UK’s 2020 Cabinet of Wonder Exhibition will feature exotic and extraordinary items on loan from people across the state.

Don’t go hauling your yard sale treasures to the museum just yet. There’s a selection process for this exhibition.

To have objects considered, you must submit an application form with contact information, title of the object, dimensions and a statement about the provenance and significance of the object. Applications and directions for that can be found on the pamphlet fixture in the lobby of the library.

There are also specific directions for how objects must be delivered for the show and reclaimed after the show. All of that information can be found at the UK Museum web page for the Cabinet of Wonder exhibition: finearts.uky.edu/art-museum/exhibitions/cabinet-wonder.

If you would like to talk to someone, contact Michaela Miles at 859-257-0336 or artmuseum@uky.edu.

If this has piqued your interest about Cabinets of Wonder, check out a wonderful coffee-table sized picture book “Cabinets of Wonder,” by Christine Davenne and Christine Fleurent (call No. 749-3094 Dave). In it, you can see how vast and bizarre these collections can be: long ceilings covered with stuffed crocodiles; beetles and butterflies forming a decorative maze on the face of a case holding a tiger skeleton.

Or read Lawrence Weschler’s superb book, “Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder” (call No. 069.5 Wesc), about David Wilson’s Museum of Jurassic Technology, a storefront on the west side of Los Angeles that displayed a microminiature sculpture of Pope John Paul II mounted in the eye of a needle, a piercing devil bat and hundreds of other mysterious objects that challenged the viewers sense and credulity since many of them were not real.

Weschler is an esteemed journalist. “Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonders” was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. Highly recommended.

Classes and events next week?

— At 11 a.m. Monday, Pageturner’s Book Group. After her father dies, 12-year-old water diviner Martha “Sonny” Creech deals with a shady, bigoted neighbor trying to grab her family’s cotton-farm business. Books are available at the circulation desk.

— At 2 p.m. Monday, Chair yoga

— At 6 p.m. Tuesday, Winchester Writer’s Group. New and experienced writers welcome.

— At 2 p.m. Wednesday, Kentucky Picture Show presents a 2019 film. Young J.R.R. Tolkien finds friendship, love and artistic inspiration among a group of fellow outcasts at school. Rated PG-13.

— At 7 p.m. Wednesday, Trivia challenges at the Engine House Pizza Pub.

— At 9:15 a.m. Thursday, Gentle yoga.

—At 10 a.m. Friday, Write Local. All writers welcome.

The library is a cabinet of wonders. Come find something wondrous to read and do at the library.

John Maruskin is director of adult services at the Clark County Public Library. He can be reached at john.clarkbooks@gmail.com.