A Museum of One

As a personal historian, I’m always interested in different ways of capturing the past. So I was delighted to discover Richard Kurin’s recent book, History of America in 101 Objects. Kurin takes 101 diverse objects from the Smithsonian’s collection—from Dorothy’s ruby slippers to a damaged door from a 9/11 fire truck—and presents a thoroughly original history of the United States.

We all have objects of significance, pieces of our personal history with stories and meaning that often exist only in our memories. One of my clients—Marian Knapp, author of Aging in Places—took a very proactive approach to capturing these stories. She saved a carefully culled set of objects—“a compilation of my life’s fragments”—in a single plastic storage bin, each with a written explanation attached. She writes, “This would enable someone to stroll through my life in less than an hour or two, which is more than enough time to spend at my museum of one.

What’s in your museum? Consider writing down the stories of your collection so their history and significance is preserved for future generations.

For help with a personal history project, call us. We specialize in helping families and businesses capture the stories that matter.