Need a new hobby? Get a load of Portland's latest movement: The first annual Cabinet of Wonder Festival is inspired by the pre-museum renaissance days when wealthy folks would assemble their own collections of specimens in the fields of "science, nature and archaeology and ethnography," like taxidermy, minerals, mounted insects, foreign art pieces, etc. These were called "wunderkammer" or "wonder cabinets," and now Curious Gallery PDX is using the idea as a jumping off point for a two-day festival scheduled Feb 1 & 2 at the Doubletree Hotel (1000 NE Multnomah).

The agenda definitely has more than a whiff of steam punk to it (no judgement whether you take that as a warning or enticement), but there are a lot of workshops that sound interesting, like a "costumed figure drawing" class, a workshop on terrariums (also called "Wardian cases," apparently), a lecture on the history of wunderkammer, "modern elixir making," steel sculpture, wildcrafting, a panel on the legality and ethics of using animal parts in art and collecting, and a lecture on why we should care about endangered species of insects (a portion of the event's profits are set to go to the Xerces Society, a nonprofit invertebrate conservation group).

Check out the whole rundown here.

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  • Dana Ross