Find strange, weird, wonderful in ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ exhibit | Local News

If today’s society has you thinking you’ve seen everything new and weird under the sun, think again.

For some lighthearted “oddness,” visit the Kankakee County Museum’s new “Cabinet of Curiosities” exhibit. It’ll be open during the annual Rhubarb Festival on the museum’s grounds.

Drawn on the 16th Century practice among the rich and fashionable of collecting and displaying curious items, the museum has unearthed some of its more rare, strange, historic and downright weird.

These are items that the museum owns but couldn’t fit into any other past exhibit, said Katey Moore, curator of exhibits, who said museum staff have been working on it since January.

These collections were once privately-owned. But as the owners of these collections died, they were often donated to state and government organizations, which became the foundation for large institutional museums, like the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

A similar thing happened in Kankakee County, which led to the formation of the local museum. Staff estimate only 10 percent of their collection is on display at any one time.

“Some [items] we knew, like Edouard Beaupre’s giant shoe, the molten teacups,” she said. “Others we were like, ‘Whoa,’ that we had it.”

The items presented range from a Civil War-era bayonet unearthed during construction on Olivet Nazarene University’s campus in Bourbonnais, to WWII era toilet paper and a set of dentures.

“I think there’s at least one item, if not all, that’s weird, exciting or interesting for everyone,” Moore said.

Here are five must-see curiosities to check out.

1. Violet Ray machine: Used during the early 20th century for electrotherapy, this wand-like device emitted a high voltage, high frequency, low current to cure everything from blemishes to “brain fog.”

2. Pocket watches: “We’ve always been carriers of possessions,” Moore…

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