Curiosity Cabinet

An interactive pop-up exhibit designed to intrigue.

Contents of the kit are shown on a table

Intriguing, funny, perplexing, inspiring, novel, surprising, revealing, sometimes silly… this is our modern-day traveling version of the traditional cabinet of curiosities. 

A cabinet of curiosities is a collection of interesting and unusual items. Dating back to the 16th century, they once functioned as an early version of the public museums we take for granted today, as museums as we know them were only really realized in the 19th and 20th centuries. Before then, wealthy enthusiasts collected all their “curiosities” in a designated room (often a sort of study known as a cabinet). The room might have been kept private or was a place to bring invited guests to view artworks, antiquities, artifacts, and natural specimens or “oddities” from faraway places. 

From the old to the new (and from the sublime to the delightfully kitsch), the kit of curiosities’ uniting theme is science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM), making for a unique opportunity to engage today’s patrons.

There are currently two copies of the kit available, with minor differences underlined.


There is no one intended audience for this kit. We hope that people from all ages and backgrounds will find something to pique their curiosity.

How to Explore

Spend five minutes, or explore for hours! There is no end goal to this kit – it is meant to offer an experience that sparks your patrons’ curiosity via hands-on learning. The items will invoke a wide range of topics that patrons are encouraged to further explore in the library.


Genuine specimens:

  • 2 amber specimens with insect inclusions in clear magnified case
  • 12 ocean specimens/insects in resin
  • 5 trilobites in black trim case
  • Snake skeleton in resin
  • Dinosaur coprolite (fossilized feces) in black trim case
  • Half of an ammonite fossil
  • Fish (Lycoptera) fossil with plastic stand
  • Campo Del Cielo meteorite nugget in black trim case
  • 50 rocks and minerals in red box (see key sheet in box for identification)
  • 8 meteorites and 8 gems in black trim cases:
    • Mounionalusta, Northern Sweden
    • Campo del Cieclo, Argentina
    • Agoudal, Morocco
    • Sikhti-Alin, Russia
    • Gold Basin, Arizona
    • Sayh Al Uhaymir, Alwusta, Oman
    • Vaca Muerta, Chile
    • Sahara Desert, Morocco
    • Amethyst, Brazil
    • Aquamarine, Brazil
    • Emerald, Brazil
    • Garnet, Brazil
    • Ruby, India
    • Tanzanite, Tanzania
    • Sapphire, India
    • Amber, Poland

Replica fossils:

  • Utahraptor claw replica
  • Allosaurus fragilis claw replica
  • Velociraptor model fossil replica and wooden stand

Physics curiosities:

  • Euler’s disc, disc magnets, and mirror
  • Kinetic energy sculpture and power cord
  • Ferrofluid bottle and two magnets
  • Flip over spinning top
  • Rattleback
  • Magnetic floating light bulb/moon and power cord
  • Plasma ball
  • Gyroscope, plastic sphere, and cord
  • Newton’s cradle
  • Red tensegrity table
  • Stirling steam engine
  • 3D mirascope and toy frog
  • Prism cube
  • CMY Cube

Other curiosities:

  • Rosetta stone replica
  • Buddha Board art board, stand, and brush
  • Moving sand art picture and stand
  • Shashibo geometric fidget cube
  • Multiplication by Heart cards
  • Wooden balancing stones
  • Pixel art speaker
  • Digital microscope


  • Cabinets of Curiosities
  • Curious
  • The Fractal Geometry of Nature
  • Math Art

These links included in the kit’s Exploration Notes are here for your convenience: