As a cultural heritage consultant, I am often asked by simple people on modest budgets what could they do to have something special in their homes. I am a passionate collectioner myself, so I will share with you some basic ideas to get you started on your project.
Your essential needs:
1. A good showcase – including glass shelves and ample lighting. I recently acquired one for a client by phoning a near-by museum which had several to donate. In return I made a small donation to the museum fund. The quality of the showcase is important. It must be big enough for your collection and set in an area away from radiators, excess light and humidity. Every time you wish to show your displays, just switch on the integrated lighting system.
2. A collection of items – think of a theme you have a passion about. I encourage you to stretch your imagination beyond the ordinary Bavarian china and porcelain statues. Recently, a female client of mine who was passionate about shoes, had me work on exhibiting shoes which ranged over 40 years. We used only the left ones, and labeled them by chronological order. We made a shoe history outline and used it as the background of the showcase. To better link the shoe types to the decades, we used the names of famous people who probably liked similar ones (ie the 'Marlene Monroe heals').
3. Adequate support for quality display – whatever your display, it is important to have sturdy support systems for your items. I find book stands and old fashion photo stands make a frugal and creative way to display. If an item has an exceptional lateral or other view, try elevating it or tilting it and place a small piece of mirror glass to show the hidden view.
I recently created a museum exhibit in my home over my travels in the Middle East, which consist of photos and items hung on a wall. For the occasion I inaugurated the event by inviting friends and co-workers which is proved to be an excellent focal point for socializing and networking.
No matter the size of your home, it has the potential of including small museum areas. Make sure those are available in high traffic areas and areas linked to relaxations, such as living rooms. Use what you have and let your imagination do the rest. The funniest museum I ever set up consistants of a variety of toilet paper rolls from around the world! Dare to be creative!