or CABINET OF WONDER
Wunderkammern were a product of the Renaissance explorers and collectors and usually consisted of a special room set aside for the display of rare and curious objects, art, and animals. These were the precursor to the Museum.
These collections of Shells, Art, Minerals, Plants, Jewels, weavings, architechture, boxes, chests, baskets, books, tools, inventions, clocks, games, strange attire, and various other attractions were Microcosms of the World and were meant to represent the Universe.
Originally meant only for the learned and rich, these collections eventually came down to the public through the work of such luminaries as Ole Worm & Elias Ashmole. Ashmole's collection later became the core of the Ashmolean Museum's main collection.
It was not until the 19th century that these types of collections were divided up into the more well know classifications we know today: Natural History, Zoology, Geology, as well as Art & Technology. Contemporary museums owe a debt to these early Wonder Cabinets as examples of intitutional learning.
Some modern examples of Wonder Cabinets exist, such as The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles and the Ye Olde Curiousity Shop of Seattle. Meanwhile classic examples have been preserved in some areas of Europe, for instance I have visited one in the Strahov Monastery in Prague.
Everthing2 is in a sense a type of Wonder Cabinet.