Museum of Wonder

February 12, 2013 – October 13, 2013

In this special exhibition honoring Kansas State University's 150th Anniversary, we invite you to explore an eclectic mix of objects representing K-State's past, present, and future. The Museum of Wonder offers an opportunity to explore objects in nonconventional ways.

The Museum of Wonder contains objects that highlight the diverse fields of research and knowledge pursued at K-State such as and wheat-related products, machines, models and hand-held equipment, books, maps and drawings, prints and paintings, carvings and castings, useful and decorative items, furniture and other household items, clothing and textiles, and animal fossils and skeletons.

Inspiration for the Museum of Wonder came from the tradition of cabinets of curiosities or cabinets of wonder which were displays of items collected from around the world by wealthy Europeans beginning in the 16th and 17th Centuries. These collections, the foundation of modern museums, sparked people's imaginations about art, other cultures, and the natural world. They often included natural specimens, items made of precious materials, and instruments of technology.

Adjacent to the Museum of Wonder is a smaller installation, the Library of Wonder. This reading room and hands-on activity area invites you to further explore topics suggested by the Museum of Wonder, including a list of digital resources that will be expanded throughout the exhibition. The Library of Wonder is made possible by a partnership with the K-State Libraries.

Related Programs

Museum of Wonder Opening Reception
February 14, 2013 5 p.m., Beach Museum of Art
Be one of the first to view the new Museum of Wonder exhibition. Cash bar and refreshments will be available.

Lecture: Fred Wilson
March 28, 2013 7 p.m., Willard Hall Room 114
Presented in collaboration with the K-State Libraries and Department of Art in support of the Museum of Wonder exhibition, Fred Wilson will share his experiences as an artist and self-described "museum therapist" who inspires and challenges museums to be more aware of the stories they tell.

Margaret Wertheim: Making Space
September 12, 2013 7 p.m., Justin Hall Room 109
Space has become a central subject of our time. Acclaimed science writer and exhibition curator, Margaret Wertheim discusses the history of Western understanding of space as seen by scientists, mathematicians and artists. Wertheim traces the evolution of thinking about space from Dante to the internet, and considers ways in which representations of space may be realized in physical and tactile form. Selected Wertheim publications will be available for purchase.

Co-sponsored by the K-State Department of Art, the K-State Department of Physics, and K-State Libraries.

Behind the Scenes: Library of Wonder
September 26, 2013 5:30 p.m., Hale Library Hemisphere Room
In this talk, Thomas Bell and David Allen of Hale Library and Adrianne Russell of the Beach Museum of Art will discuss the origins of the collaborative Library of Wonder exhibition and its future impact.

Holophusicon: The Leverian Museum
October 3, 2013 6 p.m., UMB Theater, Beach Museum of Art
In the 1800s, the entire contents of London, England's Leverian Museum (also known as the "Holophusicon"), a popular and eclectic assortment of artifacts and art objects from around the world was sold at auction. Adrienne Kaeppler, Curator of Oceanic Ethnology at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, discusses her book Holophusicon: The Leverian Museum, An Eighteenth-Century English Institution of Science, Curiosity, and Art which recounts her forty-year journey tracking down the musem's collection. Reception following; Kaeppler's book will be available for purchase.