Cabinet of Curiosities

How to Create a Cabinet of Curiosities

Create your very own cabinet of curiosities with some help from Chol!

We love stories at Chol, and we absolutely love thinking up new ways to tell them. With a bit of imagination – anything is possible! However, sometimes it is hard to create a story from scratch and many people need an idea to start from – like a topic or an object. One place that many weird and wonderful stories can be found are the old Cabinets of Curiosities. Here you will find out how easy it is to create your own Cabinet of Curiosities.

What is a Cabinet of Curiosities?

A Cabinet of Curiosities is a collection of strange or interesting objects that have been put on display together. This can be on a shelf, in a room or as the name suggests, in a cabinet. 

Domenico Remp’s painting of a Cabinet of Curiosities, 1690

They were extremely popular in the 17th century and people collected all sorts of weird and wonderful items, from scientific instruments to stuffed animals, from precious stones to real-life mermaids! Some items were real and had truthful histories, but others were made up and invented.

How to create your own Cabinet of Curiosities!

It is amazingly easy, first you need to collect a few items from around your home. These can be things you find interesting or everyday items that you do not even notice exist most of the time. Please make sure to ask permission from the owner of these items before you display them in your cabinet! You might even want to get artistic and create an object from scratch. You only need between 5 and 10 objects to start your display, as you can add to it later.

Next, every object needs a history – a story, either true or invented. A great way to get started is to think of a real story about one of your objects, perhaps how you came across it or something that has happened to the object. You can choose to keep the ‘real’ story or perhaps using your imagination you can change it a little bit or get really creative and change it completely! One by one create a story for each object. If you get stuck you can use our step by step guide to creating stories for objects.

Now you need to create a plaque or a sign for each object. This will be a short, written or typed, piece of information that can include the name of the object, where it is from, when you got it and a few sentences about the object. Here are some examples to help you.

You can get creative with this too and decide how you want your plaque to look. We like the old authentic look, there are lots of tutorials on the internet on ways to age paper – just make sure you ask an adult for help if required.

Or you could download some free templates from museums, like this one on the Natural History Museum website.

Finally arrange your objects, with their descriptions, however you like – it is your cabinet of curiosities after all. Now you can admire your work, take family on a guided tour, create a guided video tour, or share photographs of your cabinet. Please do share any photographs with us too, we would love to see what you create! Please email us photos, comments, or questions to

Have fun getting curious!

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