Gift shop tchotkes can seem utterly devoid of character on their own, but compiled in a group they can take on significance and pack visual impact. When I was a kid I remember being completely amazed by a friend's collection of snow globes. From a young age she got one everywhere her family went on a trip, and friends and relatives started gathering them for her wherever they went. Each item in her collection had meaning to her; to me her collection represented the possibilities of a world that I wanted to know.
If your child is old enough to care, encourage them to start a collection that reflects their tastes and interests. For younger kids, there is no downside to gathering objects in hopes that they will appreciate them down the road. Snow globes, dolls, figurines or other debased little objects can look beautiful grouped together, while transit stubs, postage stamps and other ephemera can be compiled in a scrapbook or collected in jars like scientific specimens. Last year AT shared some great ideas for displaying travel souvenirs and photos.
What does your family collect and how do you display it?
(Image: Walker Art Center)