5 Church Street, Mattapoisett, MA 02739 - United States
The Mattapoisett Museum is dedicated to exploring and promoting the heritage and culture of the charming seaside town of Mattapoisett and creating an inviting and vibrant place of learning and community activity for people of all ages. Visitors enjoy engaging exhibits ranging from the town's maritime and shipbuilding history to the region's local farming, manufacturing, and salt-making traditions. We change our exhibits regularly, so stop by to learn about things like whaling, ice-cutting, and weaving, or see our Studebaker sprinkler wagon and our 1821 fire engine!
Mattapoisett's Weird & Wonderful
Inspired by the idea of a ‘cabinet of curiosities’ – a concept dating back to the 16th century – this exhibit features fun and curious items from the museum’s collection, many of which have never been displayed.
Originally referring to a room, rather than a piece of furniture, cabinets of curiosities were collections of notable objects, usually reflecting the interests of their collectors. The contents could encompass a wide variety of objects from different fields, including natural history, archaeology, ethnography, art, and geology. While they were largely a status symbol for the upper classes of society at the time, these collections also functioned as educational resources and sources of entertainment - for those wealthy or powerful to enjoy access to them. Some of these cabinets of curiosities were precursors to modern museums, many of which can trace their origins back to private collections.
Mattapoisett’s Weird & Wonderful highlights the breadth and variety of the museum’s collection. Usually, we design our exhibits to tell a story, or structure them around historical themes. In this case, however, we intentionally looked for items that never quite fit into previous exhibits. Nevertheless, we think these ’curiosities’ are fascinating in their own right and hope you enjoy perusing them!
Participation in Museum Day is open to any tax-exempt or governmental museum or cultural venue on a voluntary basis. Smithsonian magazine encourages museum visitation, but is not responsible for and does not endorse the content of the participating museums and cultural venues, and does not subsidize museums that participate.