Introducing A Year of Exploring “Collectors Collecting Collections”
February 9, 2022 – October 30, 2022
What one collects, why, and how one collects, will be explored throughout 2022 in the curated series of four installations titled, Collectors Collecting Collections. Whether an artistic, scientific, eccentric, or sentimental pursuit, collecting has been a passion for centuries, and understanding why people collect has been a topic of interest for many of those years.
The exhibition series was inspired by information gleaned from the Beebe Family Archive stored by the Falmouth Historical Society and Museums on the Green, where personal and business correspondence, inventories, and auction catalogs reveal what interested the sons and daughters of James Madison Beebe.
?Those documents confirmed a fervent interest in flowers, plants and bulbs, fine art, travel souvenirs, freshly grown food, and subscriptions to music and ballet performances, and more which coincidentally, are fundamental to the programming mission of Highfield Hall & Gardens today.
As objects and materials fade from memory, new trends in collecting emerge. Collection categories evolve too as manufacturing and technology effect consumer habits. Today collectors have more resources to fuel their passion, with a simple tap of a key the world is within reach, offering people of all ages and all backgrounds to participate in an adventure of collecting.
Thematically organized, the collection series will launch January 26th 2022 with the “Part 1, Natural World” as the subject category. The winter display will include pages from the 1953 herbarium of plants and trees that once grew around Highfield Hall; selected plates from a facsimile of The Temple of Flora, the stunning 1805 compilation of botanical renderings that Pierson Beebe gifted to the Falmouth Public Library; a drawing collection depicting a forest over a period of time, rare Russian boxes with nature and fairytale imagery. The exhibit introduces the concept of ‘collecting as a pursuit’ and its Italian Renaissance origins with the inclusion of an unusual cabinet of curiosities and its menagerie of animals and rare artifacts.
Parts 2 – 4 will feature fashion and decorative arts collections for spring; fine art, travel and souvenir ephemera, games and toy collections welcome summer; concluding the year with sculpture and photography illustrating how connection and memory play a vital role in the collector’s pursuit.
Lenders and individuals contributing to the series include The Falmouth Public Library, Museums on the Green, numerous private collectors, and artists from New England and New York.