The Cabinet of Curiosity


A series of fascinating displays are planned by Frome Museum to celebrate local collectors and collecting.


Steve Smith is the latest participant to show his treasures at Frome Museum. His display shows some of his fossil collection, spanning a period of collecting from his school years through to the present day.  Steve is now a full time geologist, working for many years in Africa.  His early interest in fossils was encouraged by his geography teacher, David Wright at Frome College.

Simon Carpenter, volunteer curator at Frome Museum, says “All the fossils displayed in the Cabinet of Curiosity have been collected by Steve Smith from close to his home in Frome. They have all come from the Cornbrash – a term used to describe a unit of Jurassic-age limestone that underlies Frome College and part of the Stonebridge Estate. Steve has been kept busy recently, picking up fossils as they are exposed on building sites across Frome – some of these are displayed at Frome Museum”.

Frome Museum is offering members of the public who collect natural history objects, including bones, skulls, fossils, minerals and archaeology the opportunity to display their treasures for one month in the museum.  The museum will provide an attractive and secure space and put the display together for you. All participants need to do is get in contact and offer some objects.  Frome Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am – 2pm from Saturday 3rd March to mid-November 2018 and on Independent Market Sundays (first Sunday in month) 10am – 3pm.

A different collector is featured each month alongside examples of objects from their own collection.  The collectors will also provide a narrative that describes their choice of objects and why it is important to them.  These displays in a glass tower are in additional to Frome Museum’s existing programme of exhibitions.

Simon Carpenter, volunteer curator says, “The Cabinet of Curiosity continues to delight our visitors and provides an ever-changing window on other people’s collections and their interests.  Frome Museum is keen to continue this but needs more people to step forward to offer to loan some of their treasures and to say a few words to accompany them.  It might be something that schools are interested in – either individual children or groups of children can offer an object to display.  The museum will put the display together so this will make it very easy for people to participate”.

If you have a natural sciences collection, or you know someone who does, please contact us at the museum in person or by phone or email.

The theme of the displays will be the natural world with particular emphasis given to rocks and fossils, archaeology and nature.

People collect things for lots of different reasons, sometimes for an academic interest, but for others the motivation to collect may be less intellectual.

They may just like the shape or colour of an object or the way it feels in the hand.  Some people amass vast collections while others are content with a scattering of objects on the window-sill or mantelpiece.  And for some, the interest in collecting started at a young age often encouraged by parents, friends and visits to their local museum.

The displays at Frome Museum will reflect this collection diversity and tease out some of the stories behind the collections and the people who collected them.