Objects of Wonder

In an exhibition titled Objects of Wonder, the Columbus Museum of Art has teamed up with Ohio State University to present an assortment of unusual cultural artifacts from the University’s archives. Viewing objects from the collections of a university that opened its doors in 1870s may sound mundane, but the curiosities that Ohio State has acquired and horded for over a century are surprisingly dynamic and mind-bending. In the above video, archivist Tamar Chute shows off a 1980s egg catapult that was used to demonstrate the importance of seat belts. The exhibition also includes a pump organ that was taken aboard the Nautilus submarine‘s 1931 Arctic Expedition, the fossil collection of amateur paleontologist Robert Guenther, unpublished photographs of Marilyn Monroe reading, and a taxidermied Ivory-Billed Woodpecker. And this is just a glimpse of the exhibition’s span.

All together, the objects give a nuanced portrait of cultural niches and under-explored moments in history. Displayed in the context of an art museum, these objects act as sculptural commentaries, fragmented yet expansive portrait of the way people live and the ideas or phenomenons that fascinate them.

In an effort to expand the scope of the exhibition, the museum is soliciting participation from anyone who has a noteworthy collection of their own strange objects. Images can be sent to education@cmaohio.org. Objects of Wonder opened September 29th and will continue through January 11th.