Collection of Collections
A Collection of Collections
Curated by Sally Grubb

An exhibit inspired by the book "Homer and Langley" by E.L. Doctorow, this year's Community Read.

On display in the Avenue of the Friends at Tompkins County Public Library, Ithaca September and October 2011.

The exhibit features 36 local collections. Some collections are small, some large. Collectors range in age from 5 to 75, with one starting his collection at the age of 3.

I have never before thought of myself as a collector but I became a collector for this exhibit.

Curating or rather collecting this exhibit has been an interesting experience. It began in March when I first had the idea for the exhibit after the Community Read selection was announced.

Initially my proposal was greeted with amusement and scepticism. Where would I find the collections? How would I display them? On what basis would I choose the ones to display? What did I consider was a collection? When I explained that I intended to display a representative selection from any collection I was offered, either in the exhibit cases in the library, or in this photographic display, and that I was interested in any and all collections regardless of value, and in particular in kids’ collections, I received a lot of practical help.

As soon as a call for collections was published in the Ithaca Journal and on the library’s website, people contacted me. Some volunteered their own collections others suggested I contact people they knew. I met collectors at parties. I met them unexpectedly at meetings. And people volunteered their collections when they heard what I was doing.

For some people, collecting is an obsession, for others an intriguing hobby easily dropped and taken up again at any time. Some people don’t think of themselves as collectors more as decorators. Others inherit their collections.

I also received often conflicting advice on what a collection was, and on how to display it. “You must include as many items as you possibly can to really reflect the character of the book "Homer and Langley'. “You must give each collection as much space as possible and display it to its best advantage.”

This is a collection of collections from our community. I hope you enjoy it, as much as I have enjoyed putting it together. It reminds me a
little of the collections in the Pitt Rivers Museum in Cambridge, England - collections just because the collector likes them.
56 photos · 443 views