About Chelsea Nichols

Chelsea Nichols is a doctoral candidate at the University of Oxford, where she is writing a ridiculously interesting thesis on the display of monstrous bodies in contemporary art and its relationship to the history of exhibiting human curiosities. When not chained to a library desk, she produces The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things blog, an online collection of ridiculously interesting art, objects, ideas, and history, and curates real-life exhibitions of contemporary art. www.ridiculouslyinteresting.com

Tipu’s Tiger

Life size 18th century automaton of tiger eating European man from the Victoria and Albert Museum Life size 18th century automaton of tiger eating European man from the Victoria and Albert Museum (detail of face) Life size 18th century automaton of tiger eating European man from the Victoria and Albert Museum (detail of inner workings)Tipu’s (or Tippoo’s) Tiger is a life-sized wooden mechanical organ made around 1793, depicting a tiger mauling a man in European clothing. When the crank is turned, a hidden mechanism causes the man’s arm to goes up and down, and plays his wails of agony along the growls of the tiger. Under a flap on the tiger’s body there is also a small pipe organ, which can play 18 notes. Continue reading

Adorable mug shot of 19th century pear-nibbling toddler

1893 Mug shot of two year old Francois BertillonAlphonse Bertillon was a French police officer and biometrics researcher who was responsible for standardizing the modern mug shot. (Fun fact: the profile shot was included because Bertillon thought our ear shape might become a unique identifier, in the days before fingerprinting). This freaking adorable mug shot features his two-year old son François Bertillon, a hardened criminal who was caught nibbling all the pears from a basket on 17 October 1893. Continue reading

WHAT IS THIS THING? Mystery museum object #5

Picture of a mystery museum object Max Factror beautyWHAT IS THIS THING? Inspired by a mystery object tweeted by one of my favorite websites, Collectors Weekly, I’ve decided to make a little game out of some of my own ridiculously interesting MYSTERY MUSEUM OBJECTS. Try to guess what this strange thing is before scrolling down for the answer!

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WHAT IS THIS THING? Mystery museum object #4

Picture of mystery museum object from Maritime Musuem of the Atlantic (lighthouse)

WHAT IS THIS THING? Inspired by a mystery object tweeted by one of my favorite websites, Collectors Weekly, I’ve decided to make a little game out of some of my own ridiculously interesting MYSTERY MUSEUM OBJECTS. Try to guess what this strange thing is before scrolling down for the answer!

Continue reading