Bringing Nature Inside: 17th Century Natural History, Classification, and Vision (2004-2005)

Presentation Date: 

Monday, October 4, 2004


Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Musei Wormiani Historia

Purcell recreation

Working from the celebrated frontispiece and catalogue of Worm's Museum, or the History of Very Rare Things, Natural and Artificial, Domestic and Exotic, Which Are Stored in the Author's House in Copenhagen (Leiden, 1655), Rosamond Purcell recreated the private museum of a Danish professor of medicine, Ole Worm (1588-1654), by using natural history specimens and ethnographic objects borrowed from collections at Harvard and elsewhere in the United States.  In reconstructing Worm's world, Purcell, an installation artist, and Sara Schechner, a historian of science, explored not only the place of Worm's cabinet among other early museums and the ways he organized his collection, but also the issues that arose in representing nature through the sense of sight.

Bringing Nature Inside


See also: 2000s