Museum@Home: Collection

Spy Quest

Revolutionary Spaces presents:


Three fun activities for anyone to create their very own museum at home.

In celebration of Museum Week 2020, Revolutionary Spaces invites you to learn about the collections, exhibits, and gallery talks at our two historic sites and to create your very own museum at home. These three activities can be completed one at a time or all at once. They are designed for anyone ages eight and up to complete on their own, but also make a great rainy day project for families.

Activity 1

Gather your collection

Time needed: 10-30 minutes
Materials needed: Your own collection, people to share it with 

LEARN: What is a museum collection?

Most museums have a collection of some kind. A museum collection is a group of unique objects that are related to the kind of museum that cares for them and shares them with visitors. For example, an art museum might have a collection of paintings, a history museum might have a collection of antiques, and a natural history museum might have a collection of fossils.

Most museums have a staff member who is responsible for taking care of their collection. At Revolutionary Spaces our collection manager is Jill Conley; she takes care of all of our objects. We asked Jill to share a little bit about her work with the collections at Revolutionary Spaces:

What does a collections manager do?

A collections manager ensures the proper care and safety of a museum collection in many ways. We keep the objects clean and stored properly, protect them from pests, and move and pack them if necessary. I also act as the museum registrar. A registrar gathers and organizes detailed information about each object in the collection including its history, condition, and location in storage. In a small museum the registrar and collections manager usually are the same person.

Why did you want to be a collection manager?

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always loved collecting and organizing things. I didn’t realize that was what a collections manager did until I went to graduate school and found the perfect job for me!

How many objects do you take care of? Do you have a favorite?

We have about 7,000 objects in the collections at Revolutionary Spaces. One of my favorites is a boot jack made from whale bone and decorated with scrimshaw. I think it’s cool that an everyday tool used to help you get your boots on and off would be made out of such fancy materials.

YOUR TURN: What do you collect?

Collections aren’t just for museums. People like to collect things too.

In homes around the world you will find button collections, squishy collections, comic book collections, beyblade collections—the list goes on and on. Deirdre Kutt, one of our Revolutionary Spaces education associates, started collecting socks back in 2007. She now owns more than 65 pairs of fun print socks and wears a different pair every day.

Now it’s your turn.

  • Do you have a collection? If you don’t, CLICK HERE for some ideas on how to start one.
  • What do other members of your family collect? 

Having a collection means you need to keep your objects organized and safe—just like a museum collections manager.

  • Where do you keep your collection?
  • Do you organize your collection in a particular way—by size, color, age, etc.?
  • Do you use or play with the objects in your collection? Or are they just for looking at?

Share and talk about your collection with your family.

  • Why do you collect the things you do?
  • What did the grown ups collect when they were kids?
  • Do you see any differences between what grown ups collect and what kids collect?

Did you learn anything new or surprising about your family members after seeing or talking about the things they collect now or when they were younger?

Up next: how can you share and tell stories with your collection?

Activity 2: Exhibit
Activity 3: Gallery Talk