Sunday, March 24, 2019

Natura Obscura and the Cabinet of Curiosities



My husband and I, and our daughter and granddaughter, recently attended an intriguing temporary exhibit inside the Museum of Outdoor Arts (MOA) in Englewood, Colorado, called Natura Obscura” which covers approximately 5,000 square feet of the Englewood museum. MOA designed and produced it with Prismajic, a Denver group that creates immersive environments.  (All photos and photo collages will enlarge if clicked on)


Natura Obscura means "Hidden Nature." The exhibit was years in the making, created by over thirty artists.  Natura Obscura is a surrealist walk through the forest, that combines art, sculpture, and the latest in virtual, augmented, and digital technologies. 


Before entering the exhibit we were asked to download a special app. Once inside we could activate the app over carved wooden symbols to read more information about the exhibit and in some areas "see" more features that were hidden otherwise.


We were also given small blacklight flashlights to use, which illuminated many of the structures inside and revealed quotes about nature.


One of the interactive features was a hall of mirrors and sound that changed colors and graphics and also had different moving images on screens that were activated as we walked by.



In another room, we were able to swing under a sky filled with clouds, birds and owls "flying" overhead as a thunderstorm approached.


If one took the time to walk slowly through the Natura Obscura exhibit, really look around and use the blacklight flashlight and app then the experience was magical.  It required the use of our imagination and senses. The more we explored, the more we discovered.  It was our first time participating in an interactive art exhibit and we really enjoyed it!


A permanent exhibit in the Museum of Outdoor Art, called  "A Cabinet of Curiosities and Impossibilities" was also included in the Natura Obscura admission price. Originally developed in 2010 by Lonnie Hanzon, MOA’s Cabinet of Curiosities and Impossibilities is a whimsical immersive exhibition showcasing the talents of various artists in a collaborative installation revealing unique stories, ephemera, and radiant displays.  

 I have always been fascinated by the Victorian era habit of saving and displaying natural specimens, fossils, artifacts, and oddities, and I have my own cabinet of curiosities on Pinterest, so I was very intrigued to see what would be included in this exhibit!



Again, in this exhibit, the more we looked around the more we saw...



...and there was so much to see!


There were many detailed exhibits, many of them fairy tale oriented...


...like this collection for Cinderella...


...or this one for Little Red Riding Hood.


One of our favorites displays was of Alice in Wonderland


At the bottom of the cabinet was a little door--the size of a shrunken Alice who drank the magic fluid in the story. When my granddaughter opened the door and peeked in she saw a small garden scene and another door into Wonderland!   It was the perfect detail to surprise and enchant a young child!


Click to enlarge this photo collage to read about the interesting history behind this antique clock in the exhibit


All in all, it was a fun afternoon exploring both Obscura Natura and The Cabinet of Impossibilities and Curiosities!

Here is some information if you are in the Denver area and want to see the exhibit:

Location:
Museum of Outdoor Arts
(INDOOR Museum location)
Englewood Civic Center Building, 2nd Floor
1000 Englewood Parkway #2-230
Englewood, CO 80110

Open January 11 – and now extended to September 29th, 2019

Monday- Closed
Tuesday-Wednesday: 10am to 6pm
Thursday: 10am to 9pm
Friday-Saturday: 10am to 10pm
Sunday: 10am to 5pm
*The event will close promptly at the posted close time. Please allow yourself enough time to enjoy the installation.

You can also find me on 


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42 comments:

Linda said...

My goodness! So much to see here. It's like being in an antique shop that married a museum! I love the idea of opening that door and finding another surprise inside. I'll bet your granddaughter loved it.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Wow! So much to see...looks like you could spend days and days! This would be so interesting ... and perfect for a multi-generational experience! The Alice down the rabbit hole and the swinging under the changing skies especially fascinated me on first look. I need to come back and look more carefully after I get a bit caught up with my blogging.

Angie said...

Pat - I can see why Natura Obscura could take years to create. Although I don't normally like being asked to use an app to experience something, I think it would be a good way to make me stretch some of my boundaries. I am sure that having your grand-daughter with added another dimension to both exhibits - kids are not constrained by our preconceived notions, and so it's fun to see through their eyes! I would have been happy to browse the Cabinet for hours! Thanks for sharing with the Mosaic Monday community!

Lady Fi said...

Looks like a lot of fun!

riitta k said...

Oh my - such fantastic fantasy & surreal experience! Your purple mosaics are stunning. Thank you for sharing & happy MM.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, I would love to explore this museum! There is a lot to see! Wonderful exhibits and photos. Enjoy your day! Have a happy new week!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

The more we saw...the more there was to see! How amazing! This all fits in with an idea for a book I am working on. (a little art and quotes book just for fun) I see so many things here that inspire me. This puts nature and art together for me! WOW! I really love it! Hugs, Diane

NCSue said...

What a fascinating place!
Thanks for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2019/03/our-orchids-are-showing-off.html

Tom said...

...what a boatload of eye candy! I don't know to look first. Thanks for sharing.

Cindy Moore said...

This sounds like the perfect way to spend an afternoon! I love how enchanting it looks. Wish I was in the Denver area.

Lorrie said...

What an amazing day seeing two very different exhibits, one futuristic, the other with a nod to the past. I can imagine your senses were on overload that day! Fantastic photos.

bill burke said...

Looks very interesting and lots of fun.

Jennifer Wise HM said...

Wow, I didn't even know this place existed! How fun! I'm definitely going to check it out. Thanks for sharing at #heartandsoullinkup

Jennifer Wise HM said...

Wow--I didn't even know this place existed. I'm definitely going to check it out. So neat! Thanks for sharing at #heartandsoullinkup

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

I would have loved to had that day! What a cool place.

Sandi Magle said...

Oh, my goodness, this looks absolutely intriguing as well as fun! I will put this on my list of have-to's....hopefully!

Lydia C. Lee said...

That looks fantastic! Love the little Alice peep hole!

Mother of 3 said...

Wow! Those look amazing!!

Ann Fraser said...

What an amazing exhibition and what a great introduction to art for children.

William Kendall said...

Both exhibits are fascinating! Wonderful shots.

Lowcarb team member said...

Wow, what a simply amazing place to visit … I'd enjoy it too with my grand-daughter :)
If I should ever visit, Natura Obscura would be on my must visit list!

Great photographs.

All the best Jan

Unknown said...

I enjoyed your photos and appreciate your sharing this interesting place!

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

This looks like a lot of fun. I like the trend toward immersive interactive exhibitions.

Tulsa's Gathering Place has a small display space set up with a collection of collectibles and it is really fun.

Powell River Books said...

Interesting concept, and surprising they let people get so close to the exhibits. - Margy

ellen b. said...

Looks like a creative and interesting exhibit that draws you in.

Su-sieee! Mac said...

Oooh, I would love to see both exhibits, but in small doses. I think I'd be overwhelmed by too much wonder at one time. :-)

Wandering Wren said...

How brilliant to have this locally and it looks as if it is one of those perfect day trips which you can return to again, and again. As you say there is so much to take in - I would like to go on a swing through the forest too. How charming, clearly it appeals to all ages!
Wren x

stevebethere said...

What brilliant photos looked fun too and quaint

Have an exhibittastic week and thanks for linking up :-)

betty-NZ said...

Looks like a wonderful exhibit! Thanks for sharing.

betty-NZ said...

Thanks for linking up at My Corner of the World! I appreciate your contribution.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

This exhibit is like a magical encounter!

Spare Parts and Pics said...

What a cool spot to take your grandaughter. I think my granddaughter would love it! I like that old antique clock.

Debbie-Dabble Blog and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

Pat,
O my Goodness!! What a truly amazing place !! That is definitely something I would love to see!! Thanks so much for sharing!!! Thanks too for stopping by!! Glad to hear that you foot is healing....
Hugs,
Deb

Alice V said...

this looks like such a great exhibit. I think I would really like to visit that forest. I have yet to make my own girls to an interactive art exhibit like this.

Michelle Churchman said...

Nature Obscura looks like so much fun! What a magical experience. The Cabinet of Curiosities reminds me of a shop I wandered into in Austin, TX. So many odd and intriguing items. Had a kind of surreal feeling.

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

Looks like a place you could wander through for hours--or days!

~ Dixie said...

What a marvellous experience that must have been!
I’ve always loved Cabinets of Curiosities...so intriguing.

Jeanie said...

Wow. I really love things like this. I've always appreciated a cabinet of curiosities. (I sometimes think my whole house is that way and that's not a good thing.) It's fun to be at a spot like that and keep looking and looking and finding surprises -- like the Alice door! Just magic. And then you talk to someone who was with you and they saw different things than you!

MarilynsTreats said...

Thank you for sharing at #ThursdayFavoriteThings. Pinned and shared.

MarilynsTreats said...

Congratulations! Your post was my feature pick at #ThursdayFavoriteThings this week. Visit me at https://www.marilynstreats.com on thursday morning to see your feature! All hosts choose their own features from the comments left on their blog so be sure to return to my blog to see your feature. I invite you to leave more links to be shared and commented upon. Please don’t forget to add your link numbers or post title so we can be sure to visit!

Rambling Woods said...

Oh wow...what a great place to visit..I would love this...

Soma @ whimsandfancies.com said...

That is fascinating and so much fun. I am sure you had a lot of looking at the details too.

Thank you so much for linking up on Wandering Camera.

-Soma