What We Collect Personally

By Jennifer Cousino, Curator of History~


Whale Vertebra

The Loveland Museum’s collection started as the personal collection of Harold Dunning. Not only did he collect items from Loveland’s pioneers, he also collected a variety of interesting objects from all over the world such as amazing whale vertebra from Alaska. These objects are still in the Museum’s collection and are a unique reflection of Dunning’s own interests and of his own time. I asked a few of the staff at the Museum what they collected and thought I would share the responses.

Monster High Doll

Museum Registrar, Aly Seeberger, collects Monster High dolls. She says, “Monster High is about celebrating what makes you different and not being afraid to be yourself. Being a girl and growing up is a weird and malleable time, and for something to exist that tells you monstrosity can be pretty, can be something you enjoy, that you can be proud of the things that make you weird, is really important to me – I wish I’d had that when I was younger, and I’m so happy to be making up for it now.”


Super balls

Sometimes collecting happens because of a situation you find yourself in. Jenni Dobson, Curator of Education, has a 10 year old daughter, Alex. She spend lots of time at ice rinks since her brother plays competitive hockey. She always brings quarters and buys bouncy balls from the machines so she has something to do with her friends whenever she’s at the rink.


Small animal figures

Like many young girls the world over, Maureen Corey, Curator of Art, could never resist the appeal of cute animals, and she began collecting these in many different forms wherever she went. One favorite and probably the oldest is her “Bambi,” which belonged to her dear Nana. Maureen recalls, “Unpacking these from a dusty May D & F box for the first time in probably 20 years, I can surprisingly recall the location and the story involved with each one. They both represent the places I have visited and are a snapshot of who I was at this specific point in time. Re-visiting these is better than a photo because they evoke emotional memories of an innocent and happy time.”


vintage cameras

Tegan Hollen, Office Support Specialist, started her camera collection with the Chinon. It was her first camera and she used it for a photography class in high school. Tegan had such a great time in that class that she considered going to college for photography because of it. From there, she just started picking up cameras along the way. “eBay was totally my best friend,” says Tegan, “I ended up switching my focus to anthropology in college, but I still really love photography so I have continued to build the collection.” The Nikon D3200 (top left) is her most recent addition.


various notebooks

Erika Lehman, Marketing Coordinator, collects random notebooks and stationary because she is always writing things down, and can’t stand loose papers. Erika relates, “Although I could do with a plain ruled notebook, there’s something really exciting about using a brand new notebook with a distinct personality.”


Button collection

Susan Ison, Director of Cultural Services, collects a variety of things including buttons. Her button collection began with her Mom’s collection and the odds and ends saved from the extras you often get with clothing purchases. It grew dramatically when a friend offered a collection that her recently deceased Mom had acquired over many years. There are many shapes, sizes, and colors and many of them are instantly identified with an era. It also includes quite a few sets sewn onto cards with prices as low as 5 cents. Susan states, “When I or someone in my family loses a button from their clothing, I use it as a resource to find a similar one. If there’s nothing that matches well enough, I sometimes remove all the buttons and replace them with ones from the collection.”


Clyde Tombaugh signature

I started to wonder what I have collected over the years that would reflect my own interests and my own place in time. Recently the New Horizons spacecraft has started sending back images from the dwarf planet Pluto. Since I was a kid I’ve been interested in the stars. I’ve collected related items such as star charts, an astrolabe and even a ring made out of an Australian meteorite. I took my first astronomy class when I got to college at New Mexico State University. I was star struck when Clyde Tombaugh came to speak to our class about his discovery of Pluto. He signed my textbook, Realms of the Universe, under the short description of Pluto. I will always remember it!