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Wunderkammer: Southend’s Cabinet of Curiosity

Southend Central Museum

Wunderkammer is literally translated from German as ‘room of wonder’ and in English it is usually referred to as a ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’. Many Wunderkammer originated in royal treasuries, where the crown jewels and items of regalia were housed with other items of value for safekeeping. Cabinets of Curiosities acted as a precursor to museums and this exhibition will explore the evolution and the continued mass appeal of museums today.

This immersive exhibition highlights the stories of early collectors including one of the earliest female collectors, Isabella d’Este, and also features objects from the collection of Charles Nicholson, who was born in Hadleigh.

Whilst providing fun for the whole family, Wunderkammer also considers a more critical view of the history of collecting and its links with colonialism and instances of exoticism, providing an introspective look at museums and their collections.

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