Curiosities

This tends to be invoked to describe displays and historically, was used to refer to reflect the eclectic nature of particularly private collections of everything from exotic objects to living people.

This is still invoked today to describe certain objects, exhibitions and collections and taps into the idea that the museum is a repository of “curious”, “strange” and “exotic” objects for visitors to sample at their pleasure and engage with in a purely consumptive way.

This kind of language, therefore, also positions certain people and their cultures as “exotic”, “strange” and “curious” to behold, further creating a distinction between periphery and centre, coloniser and colonised, culture and curiosity.


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