Finders, Keepers by Laurel Graeber

The New York Times, November 3, 2000

Anything can be the basis for a collection. Harley Spiller, a.k.a. Inspector Collector, should know: over the years he’s acquired paper clips, neckties, spoons and Chinese menus.

“I have 6,000 different takeout menus going back to 1898 and from all different countries,” he said.

Tomorrow Mr. Spiller will take his objects to the Museum of American Folk Art, which is celebrating a collection of slightly finer caliber: that of Cyril I. Nelson in “An Engagement With Folk Art.” But Mr. Spiller will focus on us other inveterate collectors. “All kids collect, even if it’s funny socks or T-shirts, ” he said.

Those attending his program, “We All Love To Collect,” are asked to come with some choice pieces. (No more than five, please.) Then he will teach them how to show them off. “You have to curate,” Mr. Spiller said. “You need a theme and you have to display them cleverly.”

The museum will provide pedestals, fabric and mounts, so each child can have his or her own installation. Those who don’t come with objects can follow a time-honored museum practice: borrow. (Mr. Spiller will gladly lend.)

In collecting, “Age doesn’t matter. What matters is finding an interest and pursuing it all your life.”
“We All Love to Collect,” tomorrow from 1 to 2:30 p.m.
Museum of American Folk Art 2 Lincoln Square
Columbus Avenue at 66th Street, Manhattan
Free -Reservations advised: (212) 595-9533.

Comments are closed.