Skeletons, sculptures and sea stars: Student-curated exhibit blends art and science

Skeletons, sculptures and sea stars line the walls of the Gettysburg Cabinet, a new exhibit on display in Schmucker Art Gallery. The exhibit was curated and installed by the students of ARTH/IDS 284: “Wonders of Nature and Artifice: The Renaissance Quest for Knowledge” and is the culmination of years of planning by two members of very different departments on campus. Kay Etheridge of the biology department and Felicia Else of the art and art history department combined their academic interests in science and the arts to team-teach the class for the first time this fall.

The course began with an in-depth look at Curiosity Cabinets and Chambers of Wonder from the Renaissance era. These personal collections of treasures and oddities served as the precursors to modern museums and provided a space to showcase intersecting areas of learning. Using their newly acquired knowledge of Curiosity Cabinets, the students worked together to create a cabinet of their own to represent Gettysburg College.

The Gettysburg Cabinet contains objects on loan from the departments of history, health sciences, biology, and physics, as well as from Special Collections at Musselman Library and the personal collections of students and faculty members. Each item procured for the cabinet has a special significance to Gettysburg and contributes to the college’s overall identity.

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