The Origins of Museums is an extensive account of the first great collections in late sixteenth and seventeenth century Europe. The collections, then called 'cabinets of curiosities', were the beginnings of museums as we now know them. The discovery of the New World saw a huge influx of exotic and rare exhibits arrive in from distant lands. These discoveries revolutionised the European view of the wider world. Scholars from all over the globe describe in thirty three essays the achievements of numerous significant collectors, the range of material gathered and the impact these collections had on Late Renaissance society. With a comprehensive bibliography, the papers provide expert insight into this fascinating period of collecting history, a generally neglected subject.