Years ago when I studied to become a museologist, I learned all about Cabinets of Curiosities or Cabinets of Wonder, precursors to today’s museum. Viktor Wynd, curator and proprietor of The Little Shop of Horrors in London’s East End, was curious “to see how a contemporary wunderkammer might look”. So in the middle of his shop sits a Curiosity Museum (£2 please). The dark underground gallery is stuffed with countless old museum cabinets full of random items, like taxidermy and out-of-print books, tin toys and ivory phalluses to Rolling Stones condoms, anatomical specimens, antique dolls and a collection of skulls. A sealed box supposedly contains some of the darkness that Moses brought upon the Egyptions in Exodus. Also on display is the shrunken head of a white missionary who met his fate in Ecuador hundreds of years ago. Now his face sits in a jar with his eyes and mouth sewn shut. Even though the shop isn’t a real museum, it’s a great recreation of a time when Wunderkabinetts focused on displaying a collection of objects for aesthetic value rather than creating a narrative or educating the public.
Unidentifiable worms, the front bottom of an 18th-century prostitute, McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys, every single British Butterfly… I heard about a new museum opening, and straight off went and browsed the website, backed the kickstarter, ordered the book, and wrote a blog article!
The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities is one man’s antidote to the modern museum. “The Museum will present an incoherent vision of the world displayed through wonder enclosed within a tiny space, no attempt is made at classification and comprehensiveness, instead the museum focuses on the pre-enlightenment origins of the museum as Wunderkabinett – a mirror to a world so suffused with miracles and beauty that any attempt at categorization is bound to fail. ”
Kickstarter ends 10.00am Sat 1st of November, so drop it some pennies and get an very awesome reward. Like the name of someone immortalised inside one of the toilet bowls.