Aberdeen Cabinet of Curiosity

Contributed by University of Aberdeen

Aberdeen Cabinet of Curiosity

Based on the majestic cabinets given to royalty in the 17th century, this cabinet of curiosities is probably the first to be made since and took Deeside furniture maker Tom Ironside, of Finzean, more than six months to construct for the University of Aberdeen's museums.

The design copies the Augsburg Cabinet created by Philipp Hainhofer and given to the Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus in 1632. Even if Hainhofer's claim is an exaggeration that "Some consider it to be the eighth wonder of the world", it was a highly prestigious object that is now seen as one of origins of today's museums.

Just as the original cabinet was a symbol of culture and education, interests and search for knowledge, the new cabinet enables people today to create, classify and display their own collection. The first people to use it, Primary 5 pupils of St Peter's RC Primary School, Aberdeen, have used its 70 drawers, display areas and secret compartments. They each brought in a treasured possession which reflects something about the school, Aberdeen, or themselves. These were then divided up by theme, including wooden toys, animals, shiny things from around the world, stones and shells and Vikings.

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  • 1. At 13:30 on 13 May 2010, Primary 5 class wrote:

    Our whole class really enjoyed working on this project. My favourite part was filling the cabinet and seeing what people brought in as their precious object. Lauren

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  • 2. At 13:33 on 13 May 2010, Primary 5 class wrote:

    We needed to good communication skills when working in our groups. Sometimes it was quite hard but we got a lot of objects for our section on Vikings. My favourite part of the cabinet was the animal statues. Caitlin

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  • 3. At 13:35 on 13 May 2010, Primary 5 class wrote:

    It was a very interesting project and very exciting. I always thoughts museums were boring, but when I learned the history about the cabinet, I now know it there are not boring!! Alan

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  • 4. At 13:36 on 13 May 2010, Primary 5 class wrote:

    It was exciting. I learned that we had to be organised and responsible for people's things. My favourite peice in the cabinet was a golden compass found in the Gold and Silver section. Sharon

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  • 5. At 13:38 on 13 May 2010, Primary 5 class wrote:

    I found it interesting because the cabinet looked really cool because it had so many drawers and hidden cupboards. Museums are not as boring as you think after working with the cabinet. I felt proud of our work when we unveiled it to people. Bradley

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  • 6. At 13:40 on 13 May 2010, Primary 5 class wrote:

    I liked that we were responsible for filling the cabinet and creating an event to tell people about it. It was hard work and my group did well working together. Figures and statues was my favourite section because their were so many different animals. Megan

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  • 7. At 21:40 on 16 May 2010, Jo wrote:

    Well done, P5. You worked really well on this project, choosing interesting items and explaining your collection to all the visitors who came to see it. Many thanks to Aberdeen University for letting us have the cabinet before any other school! Mrs Martin

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