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Why Do We Collect?

Latest Keller Gallery exhibit showcases 30 carefully selected ordinary objects with stories from donors that make them special.
“Why Do We Collect?” features 30 carefully selected ordinary objects with stories from donors that make them special. 

For example, visitors will see a bronze statue of a horse that was a midway game prize at Meyers Lake Amusement Park.  The statue does not have any words on it, which means that its history would have been lost if the donor had not made a special effort to preserve it.

The exhibition also explores how and why museums build their permanent collections, how we assign meaning to material objects, and the psychology behind personal collecting.  To illustrate the process of conservation in museums, two of First Lady Ida McKinley’s gowns will be on display, accompanied by detailed information about the conservation treatment they have received to stabilize them.  The exhibition also explores how museums collect history in the making, illustrated by a selection of COVID-19 related items collected by the staff in their daily lives. 

A special section of the exhibition will explore the evolution of lighting devices and telephones, to explain how museums document everyday life over time. 

 “Why Do We Collect?” will be on view in the Keller Gallery through January 16, 2022.

Virtual Opening & Deinstallation


Thrift Style McKinley Keller Gallery
Past Exhibits

Thrift Style

A snapshot of 20th-century domestic life, when recycling was as critical as it is today, it provides one of the best examples of upcycling in our nation’s history.

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