Wonder and Science: The Alps and the Culture of Curiosity

Researchers at the Université de Lausanne have just launched a new website available in English, German, and French to feature virtual wonder rooms, with portals that can take you through a number of artifacts and archival holdings to add to our understanding of the History of Wonder and Science in the Alps beginning in the 17th century.

From the site:
Fans of hiking and natural beauty explored the Alpine regions as early as the Renaissance. Some carved Greek or Latin graffiti into the rocks of the summits they had climbed. They described their excursions in letters to their friends; they gathered plants, stuffed animals, fossils, crystals, and typical instruments.

Heeding the knowledge of farmers and ancient stories, they endeavoured to attune the local culture with their textbook knowledge. Theirs was a science filled with wonder based on tradition, fantasy and observation. They kept, exhibited or sold their finds to wealthy amateurs. This is how the curiosity cabinets or «wonder rooms» came into being, the predecessors of natural history museums. Some of them were supporters of the Reformation, they were scientists and scholars and participated in the European movement of curiosities, which had its heyday in the 17th century.

Take some time to explore this fantastic new resource: https://www2.unil.ch/wonderalp/index.en.html!