Curiosity Cabinets: Revitalizing the Cabinet of Curiosity for the 21st century with the IGWS Learning Lab

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Amanda Wollenweber
Polly Sturgeon
Kristen Wilkins


Natural history collections are groups of biologic and geologic objects that provide a physical record of Earth’s lifeforms and processes, both past and present. Natural history specimens can include rocks, minerals, fossils, plants, animals, and sediment. These specimens are scientifically organized, documented, and preserved in museums and universities to reconstruct Earth’s past, understand the present, and forecast the future.

Natural history collections inspire, create wonder, lead us to ask questions, and allow us to connect with science and the world around us.  

The Learning Lab is an experiential learning center that brings our collections out of storage for hands-on discovery. Part museum, part lab, and part classroom, the Learning Lab is where you can discover thousands of authentic rock, mineral, and fossil specimens, observe real-time datasets and geologic wonders, compare crystal shapes and fossil biology with sophisticated microscopes, question the world beneath your feet using scientific evidence, and create art and other connections inspired by our collections.  


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