DIVA Museum How Opera Divas Changed the World! Art.History.Women.Opera.Fashion: 1700-1920


A Diva's Cabinet of Curiosities



Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

 The Living Room, Dec. 2016


Welcome to the glamorous world of 19th-century opera star Madame G.M.K., a formidable artist with an illustrious international career.


Madame G.M.K is a fictional composite of 26 real-life opera divas from 1700 to 1920.


Madame G.M.K. travels with 22 trunks and 14 pieces of hand luggage.


Her special “home-like” case is the first to be opened whenever she finds herself in a new hotel.


It is stuffed with mementoes and valuables and gives her enormous comfort.  As she says:  “I have to make a home wherever I can.”


Look through the cards that describe Madame G.M.K.’s possessions and read her comments.


If you like, choose an item that you feel will assist Madame G.M.K. in making her home on the road.


(Recorded arias add a softly pleasing ambiance.)

Which Curiosity would you choose?




A Diva's Cabinet of Curiosities, or Diva Wunderkammer, is an interactive site within the larger Wunderkammer that is the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.


As Living Room "Host,"

I offer brief welcoming orientations, as well as gentle facilitation and discussion. Visitors are encouraged to read the fact and fiction, and may touch objects in the case. They may choose which "curiosity" they feel will assist Madame G.M.K. in making her home on the road.






Renaissance Cabinets of Curiosities (also known as Kunstkabinetts, Kunstkammern, Cabinets of Wonder, and Wonder-Rooms) were encyclopedic collections of specimen objects from geology and archaeology as well as religious or historical relics, antiquities, and works of art.


A Wunderkammer was considered a microcosm of the world and a memory theater.  See also MFA Boston Kunstkammer Gallery description.