There were seashells everywhere. The room was furnished with sofas and chairs with a pattern of seashells on the upholstery, there were lamps with shades covered with shells. On the tables were sculptures made of shells and books about shells. Family photos in shell-encrusted frames lined the shelves. A cabinet of curiosities was filled with more shells. I was visiting the home of a new acquaintance. Collect seashells. A special room in his house was dedicated to shells. There were projectiles from all over the world everywhere in that room. Even the business card he gave me was decorated with a photo of a large shell.

People have a natural tendency to collect things. Seashells may not be your passion, but if your coins, stamps, postcards, spoons, or weirder things like tea bags, chocolate bar wrappers, or road signs, we humans seem inclined to be collectors. Dr. Steve Anderson, a neurologist at the University of Iowa, says that our need to collect can be traced back to an earlier point in our evolution, as many animals accumulate things, especially food.

According to Susan Pearce, author of the book Interpreting Objects and Collections, one in three Americans collects something. There are many different types of collections and collectors.

Some collections are souvenirs or memories of a place. I once visited the home of a couple who collect masks every time they travel. One wall in her dining room is covered with traditional painted masks from South Africa, Egypt, Vietnam, the Philippines, and dozens of other places. When on the road, they never have to stop and think about what to buy as a souvenir. They are just looking for a skin to add to their collection.

Some collections are gifts. I know a man who gives his mother a porcelain plate every Mother's Day with a message or saying about mothers. She rummages through antique stores and curio shops, often for weeks, until she finds a plate and a design that she hasn't bought yet. His mother has more than twenty such dishes in her collection.

Some collections are of practical use. I have friends who are world travelers and I collect Starbucks coffee mugs from every place they visit. There are Starbucks franchises in more than forty countries. Our friends don't have forty different cups, but they do have enough for a rather large group of guests having coffee.

The desire to learn new things can also be the impetus behind a collection. I know someone who collects military artifacts from the world wars. It has uniforms, machinery, vehicles, sheet music, maps, books, flags, and photographs. His collection has helped him learn a lot about military history.

Some people collect things for their monetary value. I used to work with a woman who collected Barbie dolls. He assured me that one day he would sell his collection and make money.

Susan Pearce says that there are some collections that she calls "magical". There is no rhyme or reason to collect them but they do have a certain appeal or appeal to the collector. I imagine this could apply to a collection of snow globes or a large collection of Superman memorabilia.

Collections can remind us of positive experiences and important people in our lives. They can help us learn new things. They can be practical or magical. If you are not a collector, you may want to think about becoming one. Collections can enrich our lives for more information click here

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Collections: why do people collect things?