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Being a Careful Curator

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Display your collection with style

Have you ever walked into a home and felt like someone’s collecting gene had run amok? That you can’t really register all that you see because there’s so much to look at? While the power of collections is in their numbers, they can sometimes be so vast that they’re overwhelming. The easiest approach is to pack some of it away. But this isn’t necessarily the best approach.

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When you visit a museum, you don’t see everything the museum owns. Nor are museum pieces always displayed in the same way and in the same place. This is because museums have curators—experts who are responsible for deciding when and how to display pieces that comprise a collection. This same approach can be used to work with your own collection. Better put, it should be used, regardless of its size.

A collection doesn’t have to be displayed en masse in one room or in one display case. In fact, this is probably one of the most boring ways to do it. Collection pieces will often make a greater and better impression if they’re split up a bit. Think about creating vignettes of pieces in various parts of your home. Tabletops, bookcases, even bathroom counters can be great display spots.

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Rotating pieces is also a great way to keep a collection on display and fresh to the eye. As noted, this doesn’t necessarily mean packing them away; it can also mean moving things around. A grouping of objects that might make a corner extra cozy during the winter might seem heavy and out of place when summer comes around. Try putting them somewhere else or grouping them in a different way. A collection of mirrors, for example, might end up on a wall opposite a window where they can reflect the sunlight and colors of summer.

Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box a bit when it comes to collections. When curators do, their exhibits are often the talk of the town. With a little careful curation, your collections can be too!