Cabinet of Curiosities

Exhibit Preview

The Old State House Museum is pleased to announce that its latest exhibit, "Cabinet of Curiosities: Treasures from the University of Arkansas Museum Collection," will open March 11, 2017. "Cabinet of Curiosities" shows a diverse collection that ranges from dinosaur toes to Ming Dynasty pottery to a machine gun taken from Bonnie and Clyde’s car. In a way, it’s a greatest hits collection of artifacts that allows viewers to experience the incredible array of world history.

"We’re very excited to have this seldom-seen collection at the Old State House Museum," said director Bill Gatewood. "It’s a great opportunity to show how collecting and preserving artifacts gives history a new life and kickstarts the imagination of viewers, particularly first-time museum visitors." The University of Arkansas Museum closed to the public in 2003, and "Cabinet of Curiosities" will be the first time many of these artifacts will be on exhibit since the closing. During the first week of March, museum professionals will begin using the historic 1885 House of Representatives room to sort and unpack the artifacts in public view, before the exhibit opens.

Lower jawbone and shoulder of the Hazen Mammoth, part of the remains of a Columbian Mammoth (late Pleistocene era, ca. 1.5 million to 11,000 BCE) found near Hazen, Ark., during the construction of I-40 in 1965.

Mexican pig mask carved from wood, ca. mid-20th century, from the state of Guerrero, Mexico. Such masks are typically made for traditional ceremonial dances or theatrical performances common to the region.

Chinese Ming Dynasty baluster jar vase with domed lid, ca. 1386-1644. China’s Ming Dynasty is renowned for its hallmark blue-and-white porcelain ware. Its vivid blue hues come from cobalt, a precious metal which was imported from Persia beginning in the early 1400s.