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You’re a collector too

You may think of collecting as a specialised activity, rare and valuable items in glass cases or velvet lined drawers, but collecting, although it can be like this, is something much broader and something peculiar to the human species.

With the possible exception of lyre birds and jackdaws, no other creature fetishises objects in the way we do, no other creature manufactures objects in the way we do either and I suspect that the one activity is an integral part of the other. Since early man first recognised one stick as more useful than another or one stone more suitable than another, we have been on the track of comparing, sorting, categorising, selecting, possessing, adapting, and manufacturing; in a word, collecting.

So although you might think you don’t collect anything, (and by this you mean you don’t trek off to antique markets and boot fairs in search of Staffordshire cow creamers) you almost certainly do, you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t.

Collecting can and does include the things you use, most activities involve collections of some sort. Cooking, DIY, car maintenance, sport, gardening and making music, all demand collections of specialised tools and equipment. Many people hoard magazines; that’s a collection. Keeping all your receipts for an accountant… that’s an archive.

If you think about it you do collect (records? CDs? Photographs?), it’s just that you don’t associate the activity with what museums do, but any of those collections of workaday items, given a few years, become items of historical interest. Even without the addition of years, people’s collections are interesting. They tell us about lives and life and others’ experience and that’s one of the things that museums are for.

So before dismissing the idea of a People’s Case as nothing to do with you, think about it for a bit.

Get in touch with us at MuseumFriends@HerneBayMatters.com or write to:

FOHBM Newsletter, 1 Mickleburgh Hill, Herne Bay CT6 6AA.

We want to hear about your collections and we want you to make an exhibition of yourself, with our help of course.

David Cross, Secretary

May 2011


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