Supriya may live near some of the most famous American museums—chiefly, the Smithsonian—outside Washington, D.C., but she still chose this week to rerun a slightly off-topic post from last year.
|The Museum of Childhood |
I adore museums, but the problem is I also live in one. I collect books, few of which I plan to read again, clothes I haven't worn in years, old gifts I feel too guilty to donate, baby items I’m hanging onto in case someone else (not sure who) might need them, and an avalanche of papers that need sorting, dealing with, and/or shredding. I know I’m not the only one who lives like this. Most people I know have little museums of some sort or other in their homes. Wine bottles, matchboxes, old photos, cookbooks, gadgets, mementos. We live in a culture of collecting things. It’s what we do. The question is, why?
|The Berger Collection with Teapot Museum in |
Amorbach, Bavaria, houses countless exhibits
of modern art as well as Europe's largest teapot
collection, featuring nearly 2,500 teapots
and another 500 miniature ones.
|An exhibit at the Museum for Funeral Customs in |
Springfield, Illinois, displays mortician's restorative tools.
In contrast, in many parts of the world (Zabbaleen City in Cairo, Kachri Kundi in Karachi, and the Matuail landfill in Dakka, to name a few), communities spring up on top of exposed landfills and become a meager source of income for its residents (who pluck out reusable and/or resellable items) and even innovation for scientists and city planners.
For generations, we’ve been fascinated with digging up the debris of past cultures through archaeological digs. But what will future generations think about the debris we leave behind? Will we be considered one of the most wasteful generations, not caring about the environment? Or might we be the ones to turn things around and become the generation that rescues Mother Nature? I wonder which of our stuff future generations will choose to collect and build their own museums around.