What gets the coveted title of “Worth Saving?” 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 dumb piece of cardboard 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. It’s pretty arbitrary, no?
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?
Can it be that one specific moment in time, where the sound of a song hangs in he air while you’re walking down the beach? Is that just a memory, or is it an aural and experiential snapshot of a time that has meaning to your personal history?
Our thought is that it all matters. The building, the toy, the experience. Is everything worth preserving though? The pile of stuff in my basement says a resounding NO. Looking at objects in any point in time also changes perspective. Things go from NEW! to stuff-in-the-basement to headed-to-the-trash to tag-sale find to Museum Display in a heartbeat. How are we to know? We don’t. We can just give it our best guess. Sometimes we’re wrong, sometimes we’re right. One thing is for certain, though. If we simply look at things as an individual object without context and without a wholistic view of it’s entire surroundings, we miss the point of life.
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; in short, 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 gets preserved, but the milestones sure do.
Here are a few photos. I can’t say I know what goes in which column, save or toss. But have a look and enjoy trying to figure out what you find save-worthy or not.