If we’re friends elsewhere on the internet (or even in real life – for occasionally I do socialize!), you’ve already heard me talk about the antique bottle show I went to not long ago. You see, one of my jobs involves surveying the history and heritage sector of my entire (tiny) state. And in the course of that work, I spend a lot of time researching what those organizations are and developing relationships with them. I am, essentially, a professional local history tourist. I really like it. But I digress. While researching something totally unrelated to antique bottles, I stumbled upon a local bottle-collectors organization. And lo and behold, their annual show was that weekend, in nearby South Attleboro. I had no idea what to expect, but the tourist in me was hell bent on going. I turned immediately to fellow lover of old things, Liz, who described our outing as “becoming a parody of ourselves.” Perhaps, but I know this: I was not in the least disappointed in my first bottle show experience. Yeah, I said first.
To be perfectly honest, personal collections are what really sparked my initial interest in becoming an archivist. I was never interested in “history” as a broad subject, but I love learning it through the scope of a specific person’s connection with objects of any kind, whether it’s a form of media, like a record collection, or something as seemingly static as a bottle collection. When I was home in Pennsylvania, I stayed at a friend’s house one night in Pittsburgh, and her dad showed me his oil can collection. I wish I’d had my camera then – his collection was as well maintained and artfully displayed as any I’ve seen in any professional exhibit. The bottle show was another really great way to glimpse into another kind of collector’s world, and I have to say it was really impressive. I also have to say that I would genuinely go to another bottle show, this time with more money in my pocket. (Don’t worry, I’ve already established a solid collection policy for myself to prevent unnecessary acquisitions.)