Cynthia Hilmoe

Cabinets of Wonder Kiosk

Children trade found objects from their outdoor adventures in this whirlygig-like, box-equipped sculpture.

Materials and Building Strategies

The Cabinet-of-Wonders Kiosk is designed as part of a program to get kids outdoors and connected to nature, The sculpture stands about 4 feet high, just tall enough for a third grader to reach out to spin the whirlygig and watch the contents of clear acrylic boxes whiz by. Imagine a trading library, only instead of books, the contents are found objects from nature. Spying something curious, a child unlatches a box to trade out one object with another of her own.

A wooden dowel, embedded vertically in a concrete base, which doubles as a counterweight to the spinning top, holds the three-pronged whirlygig aloft. The whirlygig is made of foam covered in a hard coating. Clear acrylic boxes are suspended on rods mounted across its prongs. The latched boxes spin on the rods for additional kinetic fun and better viewing of the objects within.

I wanted to make a kinetic centerpiece that tapped kids' curiosity and prompted their social interaction. The kiosk would be used as part of a program designed to reconnect kids with nature. The work is inspired by Richard Louv's book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, and publications associated with the Child & Nature Network, the interdisciplinary movement behind this issue.

Kids, especially third and fouth graders.

User Scenario
See description above.

See description above.