Art, Collections and Resources, Events, Rare Book Collection, Special Collections

Expert Arthur MacGregor to Discuss “Rooms of Wonder” Feb. 20


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The Cabinet of Curiosities in Word and Image:  500 Years of Representation (and Misrepresentation)
Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014
Wilson Special Collections Library
5 p.m. Exhibition viewing | Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Room
5:30 p.m. Program | Pleasants Family Assembly Room
Free and open to the public
Information:  Liza Terll, Friends of the Library, (919) 548-1203

Special Parking Information: Free parking for this event will be available in campus lots N8 (Undergraduate Library lot) and N11 (Venable lot) beginning at 4:30 p.m. Other lots may fill early because of the rescheduled UNC-Duke basketball game. (View campus parking map)

The exhibition Rooms of Wonder: From Wunderkammer to Museum, 1565-1865 in Wilson Library will open Feb. 20 with a free public lecture by Arthur MacGregor, one of the world’s leading experts on cabinets of curiosities.

His lecture is titled “The Cabinet of Curiosities in Word and Image: 500 Years of Representation (and Misrepresentation).”

MacGregor, former curator of antiquities at Oxford University’s Ashmolean Museum, authored the landmark book Curiosity and Enlightenment: Collectors and Collections from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century.

The exhibition will be on view Feb. 20 through April 20 in the Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Room. A version of the same exhibition elicited glowing reviews from The New York Times and Wall Street Journal when shown at the Grolier Club in New York City in 2013.

In Wunderkammers, or “rooms of wonder”—also known as cabinets of curiosities—the learned and noble of centuries past collected and displayed objects of fascination, man-made and natural. In their quest for knowledge, they gathered shells and corals, minerals and gems, relics, scientific instruments, plant and animal specimens, and much more—often displaying them in densely packed rooms. Such assemblages were precursors to the first art and science museums in Europe and the United States.

For exhibition information, contact Wilson Library at (919) 962-3765 or

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