Our Cabinet of Curiosities - Eva Varga

October 12, 20133

A few years ago, I read aloud Brian Selznick’s Wonderstruck to the kids and we delighted in the story as well as the accompanying illustrations.  For years prior, I had kept a growing collection of seeds, cones, feathers, bones, leaves, insects, rocks, sand, galls, etc. – things I would gather in our regular nature outings.  As a former elementary science specialist, I also had a large collection of specimens that students had given me over the years.  I had always simply referred to it as the nature study cabinet but upon reading Wonderstruck, my kids renamed it Our Cabinet of Curiosities.

Earlier this year, I came to realize that our collection had grown beyond what I could display nicely in the small curio cabinet that once held my Avon doll collection when I was a child. As you can see in the “before” picture, I have stacks of shoeboxes atop the cabinet and piles of specimens on the table.  It was a mess.

nature table

Then one day when the kids and I were on a quest for some thing or another at a second hand store, we came upon this moderately sized china hutch.  I bought it without much thought as to how I was going to get it home – I drive an Accord, after all.  I’d figure out something .. I couldn’t let it slip through my fingers.

When I finally got it home a few days later with the help of a friend (thank you, Jenn!!), the kids and I enjoyed organizing and displaying our collection of curiosities.  There are still many specimens and rock samples that are not on display, but the cabinet allows us to showcase our favorites.  The cupboards below allow us space to store our nature journals, leaf collections, and many field guides.  There is even space enough for a few small tools (hand lenses, wind gauge, etc.).

Our Cabinet of Curiosities is where we can display our nature collections and marvel at our natural world.  Do you have a collection of natural objects or curiosities?  Share with us by leaving a comment below.


  • Alex

    October 13, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    What a great find! Your cabinet of curiosities looks very interesting.
    We keep our nature finds on our bookshelves, all over, in front of our books. We have seaglass and seashells collected in Ontario, PEI, and the Bahamas and Florida on past vacations, all in jars. Special rocks and acorns, feathers, and other little finds are kept right on the shelf or in little bowls or plates.
    Our current house is very small but one day, I hope to have room for a little cabinet just for our nature treasures.

    • Eva Varga

      October 14, 2013 at 2:29 pm

      I love the idea of sprinkling or strewing little nature discoveries around the house. I think I’ll start doing that too … makes for fun little surprises for guests. 🙂

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