A new photography exhibit opening soon at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art features works that date from the 1850s to the present day and explores the many ways photography has expanded our centuries-old fascination with the marvelous, unusual, unexpected, exotic, extraordinary or rare. Opening in September, Cabinet of Curiosities: Photography & Specimens presents items as they might have been collected by their owners. “In the 16th and 17th centuries, Cabinets of Curiosities functioned like small museums. They were assembled by their owners to reflect the fascination with science and art,” says Jane Aspinwall, associate curator of photography. “Photography has always emphasized that relationship: specimens are typically used for scientific study, but they can also be considered works of art.” The exhibition runs September 12 through Feb. 10, 2013.