Katie Griswold’s essay “Down the Street and Around the World: An Exploration of Everyday Exoticism in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum” was written in the fall of 2012 for a WR 100 seminar focusing on the history of travel writing in the West. It was submitted for the first assignment in the course, in which I asked my students to visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and use their close readings of that space to help them evaluate an ongoing scholarly conversation about the historical relationship between “wonder cabinets” and museums. Katie’s detailed and thoughtful observations during her time at the ISG led her to employ uncanniness as a critical optics for conceptualizing this relationship anew. Katie’s essay, reproduced here, not only met the expectations of my assignment in exemplary fashion, but it also contributes quite significantly to an ongoing scholarly conversation revolving around the perception and display of otherness in our contemporary culture.


WR 100: Travel Writing: Genre, History, and Politics