In which we muse over the emotional/aesthetic/monetary value of stuff. While we all succumb to the new cult of de-cluttering, we wonder what gets the coveted title of “Worth Saving?” As I drive yet another load of junk from the basement off to the dump I wonder, “Am I making a mistake?”
What makes this toy worth a display slot in a museum:
Or what about this toy, which was found in a basement in a box labelled “trash.”
You could argue the design of the car is a masterpiece of the streamlining modernist movement of the 1930’s, which culminated with the New York World’s Fair of 1964 and 1965. The entire fair extolled the new, sleek stainless steel world we were headed towards. The word “sanitary” was big. The game is just a cardboard box and plastic meant to keep kids busy. Or you could say the game is a masterpiece of graphic design, showing a boy actively enthralled with an action game that could conveniently be played on a table top on any rainy day, while the car is just a future rust bucket with potential sharp edges waiting to injure some kid.
But is a relic just a thing? Can it be the view out a window?
Can it be not a barn, but the barn siding? Not the barn siding itself, but the way the paint is fading and decaying? A moment in time and place, destined to change with a few more thunderstorms?
Can it be that one specific moment in time, where the sound of a song hangs in the air while you’re walking down the sidewalk? Is that just a memory, or is it an aural and experiential snapshot of a time that has meaning to your personal history?
Is this worth saving?
But maybe not this?
Our goal is to broaden the view. A barn isn’t a barn, it’s also living history. It’s a family many years ago needing this structure to make a living, it’s a tool for a farmer. It now becomes an almost-art object along a road, and in the future it will be an anchor to remind a town where it comes from and to put thought into where it might be going.
By bringing buildings, things, experiences, music: basically everything together, we make people and communities aware of the need for preservation. Houses, open space, stone walls, views, culture. It all ties together. Sure, not everything can get preserved, but the milestones need to.
And for these relics? What of their future…