This exhibition features a selection of private collections borrowed from residents of the Philadelphia area. It is an eclectic presentation of a variety of collections. Some are nostalgic objects of the past such as antique doorknobs, walking canes, enamel flower pins, and vintage postcards. Many of the collectibles are objects from popular culture — Smurfs, Beanie Babies, and bobbleheads as well as everyday things like key chains, brushes, and olive oil cans. Others represent souvenirs from the collector’s travels — snow globes, matchbooks, and floaty pens while a few focus on specific imagery such as owls or hands. These wide ranging themes reveal that collecting is an expression of personal interest as well as creativity. Each collector has made individual decisions about what to collect and what objects get added to their collection.
As diverse as the collections are, most have been gathered primarily as a hobby and for the collector’s own enjoyment. While the activity of collecting is a universal experience, each collection is personal and unique as each object often represents a specific remembrance or story. Not only are collections a wonderful record of our culture, they also provide insights about the collector’s interests and personal history.
Above Right: Enamel Flower Pins courtesy of Patti Dougherty
Far right: Matchbooks courtesy of Margot Berg
Close right: Hands courtesy of Susan Moore