Museum Collections Or Historical Hoarding

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September 30, 2011 by David Gillaspie

THE THIN ARCHIVAL LINE

A cultivated museum connoisseur sees a roomful of weapons in the Tower of London and marvels at the minor diversity of each piece.

A hoarder sees the same room and thinks of the screw collection in their kitchen drawer.

A philatelist breaks out tweezers and a magnifying glass to plumb the depths of her new stamp collection.

The hoarder hears the word stamps and goes off while they walk the canyons of Sunset Magazines stacked in their living room.

“Stamps are stupid,” they say. “Don’t they know it’s just a stamp, not some cultural insight? Sunset Magazine is about life. So is National Geographic and newspapers. If it’s stamps they want, they can have them.”

The difference between collecting and hoarding is often a question of public and private.

A collector takes pride showing their treasure, unless it’s Nazi loot or pot-hunter grave robbing; a hoarder lives in quiet shame once they reach the point of an intervention.

Unique collections get showcased on the Discovery Channel. Hoarders find themselves on Oprah or A&E. 

Writers gush about museum grade material in Smithsonian Magazine. Hoarders have their obsession pealed away in Psychology Today

Disdainful viewers see both extremes and choose the more dignified calling, even though they have drawers jammed with five sets of pruning snips, boxes of paper clips, and staplers of every size.

One group keeps their collections in climate controlled, secure, buildings. The other could care less.

Which brings the focus to the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame. Is it a museum collection or historical hoarding?

They shut the museum door in 2008, packing the collections into storage. The website reports an active search for a new location. Luckily, there’s a roadmap handy. There’s also a financial solution, but more on that later.

The Oregon Historical Society regained the trust of Multnomah County and the State or Oregon through the efforts of Executive Director Kerry Tymchuk. Oregon history changed. How can the HOF change Oregon?

Make a deal between OHS and the HOF for some rotating exhibit space. Let history people see what they’re missing.

Tease it.

Publicize it.

Then write NFL players with Oregon roots a letter similar to this: 

During times of exceptional market swings, museum costs swing equally high with unusually low results. Future members, help lift us in these weighty times.

The amazing part of aging is watching capable young people find their power. They find the friends they need around them, their team, and they thrive.

It happens in competition, on the field and off: if you choose the company of those holding themselves to a higher standard, you reach your’s sooner.

Supporting the Oregon Sports Hall Of Fame is a higher standard, my friends. It’s a chance to look beyond day to day life, a chance to push eternity a little further down the tracks. Most of all, it’s a chance to ride that train ahead of schedule, and a chance to steer.

Your seat at the big table is set, men, please help move it to a new home.

Shine the light of greatness for deserving fans.

Yours in sport,

OSHOF 

NFL players take classes on what to do when their money comes in. They learn how to save and how to spend.

Someone call former Duck Haloti Ngata and former Grant General Ndamukong Suh, the two best defensive lineman on earth. Call Douglas High School’s Troy Polamalu. These are men who know what it means to leave it on the field of play. They know how to bank their money. With their eventual induction into The Oregon Sports Hall of Fame, they won’t want their plaques left in storage.

They may want to help now, but don’t know how. Teach them.

In a state famous for sparkling museums, from The Museum At Warm Springs, to The High Desert Museum, to The Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, the HOF can’t stay in storage.

Sports related clubs assist the HOF.

The Multnomah Athletic Club, the MAC, is a splendid facility, an iconic institution. They hosted the recent induction ceremony. 

Their stated mission:

“Enrich lives, foster friendships, and build upon our traditions of excellence in athletic, social, and educational programs.” 

The Oregon Sports Hall of Fame mission statement is similar:

“To recognize and appreciate Oregon’s rich athletic history.  Our goal is for this legacy to inspire participation in sport and foster awareness of the values and life-long rewards gained from this participation.”

Rich athletic history?

Excellence in athletics?

Guys, huddle up. Make a deal.

Call Mr. Tymchuk at the Oregon Historical Society. He knows the drill. He faced the storage door from the wrong side and made it right. Make the call.

It’s a small step for a new museum, but a huge step for sports fans.

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