Category: Collections

Anything to do with collections of things and museums.

Another NY Times Article on Museums

The NY Times is once again covering museums. The latest article, “In Texas Tradition, Museums That Enshrine the Quirky,” underscores how any collection of things can be displayed and called a museum. Apparently, collectors in Texas take seriously the American Association of Museums’ criteria that to be a museum it must make a “unique contribution to the public by collecting, preserving, and interpreting the things of this world.”

Article in the NY Times on quirky museums in Texas.

This gives us The Eight Track Tape Museum and the Devil’s Rope Museum or Barney Smith’s Toilet Seat Art Museum. Some of these museums seem more durable than others. Some seem to have descended into obscurity, leaving only a website to mark their passing. They force us to confront again what distinguishes a museum from a personal collection, and when does a personal collection become a museum.

Collecting Everyday Objects

Related the article in the Smithsonian Magazine I discussed in Collecting Salt Shakers … is this article in the NY Times: “A Family History, Liberally Peppered.

Mr. Hoffman poses with his collection of pepper mills.

In this case, another quotidian table utensil, the lowly pepper mill, has been extracted from the world of utility and elevated to an objet d’art. For the family, collecting these pepper mills is equivalent to collecting art: “It becomes more about buying an art piece than a functioning piece.”

To read more on this, see my post at PACHS: “On Pepper Mills.” While there, you might peruse my growing collection of posts on collecting: “On Salt Shakers and Chinese Takeout Menus” and “On Collecting and Collectors.”

Collecting Salt Shakers …

An article in the Smithsonian reports on an enormous collection of salt and pepper shakers: “Would You Like Some Salt and Pepper? How About 80,000 Shakers’ Worth?.”

Why collection 80,000 salt & pepper shakers?

This collection, despite receiving the imprimatur of the Smithsonian, is no better or worse than Harley Spiller’s collection of 10,000 Chinese takeout menus: Inspector Collector: Chinese Menus. In both cases the collectors are exercising authority and establishing expertise by collecting, arranging, and controlling access to their objects.

For more on this, see my post at On Salt Shakers and Chinese Takeout Menus