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Collections As Art

Your Treasures and Keepsakes can become art to decorate your home!

One of the most fascinating places I’ve ever had the pleasure to visit was the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine, Florida, housed in the historic Hotel Alcazar, built in 1887.  

Starting in 1948, Chicago publisher Otto C. Lightner fills every nook and cranny with his amazing treasures from all over the globe.  Lightner was a “collector of collections.”  His museum boasts the worlds largest collection of original Thonet Furniture, Tiffany Stained Glass, buttons from every time period imaginable from faraway places, a collection of real taxidermy animals killed by Theodore Roosevelt, real Pygmie tribe shrunken heads…..the list goes on. Only a portion of his collections are in the hotel. The other collections are in storage and are occasionally rotated to the hotel. My husband and I walked around for hours completely mesmerized and enchanted.

Your collections may not be as vast, but are likely equally fascinating to you and your loved ones. As Meg Dure says, d as art is a wonderful way to show them off as well as keep them in good condition. Not only are they fun to look at and fun to share with your guests, they reflect something about your personality and your family history.

My cousin Wade is a civil war buff, a member of the Sons of The Confederacy, and has a wonderful collection of memorabilia from our great-great-grandfather and uncles who served in the Civil War. His creative wife, Alice, who enjoys , did a superb job of arranging shadow boxes. They show off the collection of diaries, uniform patches and buttons, pewter cups and plates, and derrogotypes and newspaper articles written by great-great Uncle Gus, who served as a war-time secretary. These grace the walls of their foyer along with prints of those family members.

What do you have in your family treasures that might be displayed as art?  If you have small children, you don’t have to look far!  A collection of their artwork is a fun place to start.  Combine clay pottery made in art class with their painted masterpieces creatively framed for a darling grouping.

Perhaps you were a 4-H member and have ribbons and photos of your horseback riding events.  Find the proper size shadow box and display your riding helmet, photos and ribbons beside a larger photo of you at age 12 jumping on your horse.

Have fun digging through the boxes in your mom’s attic, and let your creative juices start flowing.  Let the photos here inspire you to create your own art from your own collections.

Meg Dure August 26, 2011 at 07:52 PM
Melissa, I don't have to tell you how much I LOVE this article. So nice to see what others collect and how they display their treasures. My latest: vintage biscuit cutters. I have them piled in a beautiful vintage candy tin on my kitchen counter. I love your children's art gallery. And the tools -- too cool.

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