Archives On The Air 42: The Ram Snuffbox—The Colket Collection; Toppan Library

Aug 14, 2018

Did you know that Laramie has its own Wunderkammer?

This German word means “Cabinet of Wonder.” Cabinets of wonder date back to the 16th century and were popular in the Victorian Era. These cabinets can be filled with curios ranging from the biological to the bizarre.

Often the viewer opens the cabinets or drawers to “discover” materials within.

Laramie’s Wunderkammer is tucked behind the Toppan Rare Books Library at UW’s American Heritage Center.

The collection highlights objects gathered by Charles Howard Colket. Colket was educated in the Classics and used his wealth to collect worldly goods from 1879 to 1924.

The collection features furniture, historic relics, and even a ram’s head used as a rolling snuffbox in the late 19th century. Most of the items are from the Middle East and Asia.

You can view Laramie’s Wunderkammer in the Colket Room of the Toppan Library, part of UW’s American Heritage Center.