Helianthus is a genus of plants that are all native to North America. There are about 50 different species and they include many different sunflowers and the Jerusalem artichoke. Our specimen arrived with a small collection of Victorian thin sections and is labelled simply as Helianthus.
The sample had been stained to highlight the internal features. We applied a further colour change to give it back a more natural appearance.
Cabinets of curiosities were personal collections of natural and man-made objects displayed in a single cabinet.
It was a fashion that reached its peak in the seventeenth Century, but something that is returning in modern times as uncategorised virtual or travelling physical exhibits, sometimes crowd sourced and changing. The original cabinets of curiosities were the personal and often idiosyncratic collections of wealthy owners, and their main function was to provoke a sense of curiosity and wonder in the viewer. Our Cabinet of Curiosities is a collection of curious things that we came across in museums, and a few things we've found in mineral shows. There isn't a learning objective – they're just interesting.