Stuff ends up in odd places, sometimes. Mrs. Strong (of Strong Museum fame) in some ways fit the profile of accumulator, decorator, AND collector.
She also fit the profile of Hoover. And I don’t mean the president.
One story concerns her lawn decorations.
In addition to collecting objects of material culture, including the widely respected doll collection, she also collected real estate.
In Kennebunkport, Maine, she owned several homes. All ocean-front property, of course. None small. (What’s the point, otherwise?)
And among the collectibles she accumulated were bathtubs.
Cast iron bathtubs. Clawfoot bathtubs. Sheet metal with wood trim bathtubs.
Bathtub collections present collectors with at least one key problem: where do you put them after you’ve purchased the fifth one?
The front yard seemed a good idea to Mrs. Strong. Much to the consternation of the neighbors. And, maybe, the passersby.
Planting them vertically and half way into the ground avoided the irritating problem caused by heaving during the winter months.
Though perhaps eccentric, Mrs. Strong endowed a museum.
And for that we should be thankful.
Most of us aren’t quite as well off as was she. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be supportive of not-for-profit museums.
Sure, we can give them money. And we can volunteer our time.
But we collectors, decorators, and accumulators are uniquely positioned to make that which we possess available to them. For study purposes. For purposes of documentation.
And, since we have so darn much of it, we can offer our stuff as a loan for one of their exhibitions.
It’s like the Lottery: you never know.
Meanwhile, accumulators, decorators, and collectors who have gathered so many things, can add to our collections being thankful to our museums.