Preserving your finds

Sunday, December 5, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 3:55 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

Thinking of collecting stuff? Here are a few tips from Jenny Dowd, an MU graduate art student who is doing her thesis on collections:

Collecting is an individual process, and the possibilities and approaches to collecting are endless. I organize, label and store objects differently depending on what they are and what they represent to me.

Organization is the first issue I deal with in my own collections. This begins loosely, usually with piles sorted by genre. A lot of what I collect right now is random: small notes, lists, seed pods, twigs, stones, small bones, unrecognizable objects. If I take one of these objects apart — I often rip open seed pods to see the inside — then I keep all of the parts together in their own box or envelope. The objects are then sorted in piles — pods here, twigs there — which end up in small boxes, drawers, envelopes or on shelves.

I do not label the container or object; instead I rediscover the objects by rummaging through them periodically. I rely on memory as a label for most of my collections, and I find I stay in touch with the objects more by looking at them often. My most meticulously labeled collection, however, is the list of books that I have read.

When beginning a collection, I try to think about what I believe is best for the object and what I want out of the collection. It may not make sense to keep photographs of family and friends piled and unlabeled on a shelf. Collections should not be treated the same. Some may need to be archived or protected, while others may need to be specifically or even scientifically labeled.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.