Explore ‘cabinet of curiosities’ at Mac-A-Cheek


WEST LIBERTY – The Mac-A-Cheek Foundation for the Humanities, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization that provides educational experiences at Piatt Castle Mac-A-Cheek, received a grant from the Ohio Humanities to produce a free public talk and three visitor guides to more effectively interpret the massive walnut cabinet of curiosities in the drawing room. In preparation, staff and volunteers shared research from the Piatt family archive with museum consultants in material culture, anthropology and archaeology, and interpretive strategies.

One interpretive guide will be located inside Mac-A-Cheek Castle for use by all visitors. Youth guides will be created and given away for free, and a third guide containing essays by consultants along with historical images and photographs of artifacts and natural history specimens will be available for sale by summer.

Throughout the project, Piatt Castle staff and volunteers continue to research the collection and to seek ideas from individuals for future strategies and programs intended to engage visitors’ curiosities about the history of the objects in the cabinet.

Margaret Piatt invites teachers, youth leaders, club members, staff from area attractions and historical societies, and others with ideas about programs and interpretive methods to contact her for an appointment.

Material culture expert Andrew Richmond presented a November 2020 talk called “A Case for Collecting: The Cabinet of Curiosities at Mac-A-Cheek.”

A second talk is planned for late May when Richmond, Brad Lepper of the Ohio History Connection, Alex Heckman of Dayton History, and Mike Follin, a living history specialist recently retired from Ohio History Connection, will present a panel discussion titled “Using the Cabinet to Engage Curiosity.” The team will focus on how to view the cabinet of curiosity as an avenue into the past and a tool for expanding critical thinking.

Anyone interested in seeing a video of the November talk or participating in a conversation about the cabinet and its collection is invited to email [email protected] for the link or to make an appointment. Those who prefer calling, are asked to leave a clear message including name and phone number at 937-465-2821.

This is a 1916 photo of the “cabinet of curiosities.”
https://www.urbanacitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2021/02/web1_cabinet.jpgThis is a 1916 photo of the “cabinet of curiosities.” Submitted photo

Submitted story

Submitted by Mac-A-Cheek Foundation and Piatt Castle.

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