Annual Collectors Day returns Saturday

Reef Gillett, 5, smiles as he glances over his uncle Alan Lehtola’s display of The Simpsons figurines at the 2007 Collectors Day at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

File photo
Published: Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 1:52 p.m.

For Sarah McIntosh, it started when she saw a set of googly-eyed, whale-shaped salt and pepper shakers while visiting her friend in San Fransisco 23 years ago.


32nd Annual Collectors Day

What: Collectors display 100 collections of items in annual event
When: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday
Where: Florida Museum of Natural History, Southwest 34th Street an Hull Road
Admission: Free
Info: 846-2000 or www.flmnh.ufl.edu

“Sometimes it’s just one thing that starts it and [sets] everything in motion,” said McIntosh, 58. An English professor at Santa Fe College, McIntosh has since collected about 150 sets of tacky salt and pepper shakers, which fill up every shelf in her house and have to be dusted regularly.

Her display will be one of about 100 collections featured in the Florida Museum of Natural History’s 32nd annual Collectors Day on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The museum’s longest-running event is intended to highlight the importance of collecting, said Tiffany Ireland, the event’s coordinator.

The collections will include everything from vintage cars and U.S. military memorabilia to stress balls and alligator figurines, and will fill up the main and temporary galleries of the museum.

Last year, about 4,000 people came to the event, which is free and open to the public.

“It’s fun to see people come in and enjoy [the collections], especially grandparents with their children,” Ireland said.

The event is accompanied by a permanent exhibit, “Museum Collections are the Library of Life,” which opened in November.

McIntosh will display part of her 23-year-old collection of tacky salt and pepper shakers for the first time with the help of her granddaughter Brooke, 11, who makes sure the sets are dusted well.

McIntosh said she has visited the Collectors Day ever since she moved to Archer about 25 years ago but never presented her salt and pepper shakers.

Her brother, Toby McIntosh, who collects banana stickers and displayed his collection at last year’s event, pushed her to show her collection this year.

McIntosh said another reason she started the collection was simply because she had empty space over her stove.

“What’s odd is that I don’t even care for salt,” she said. “I don’t use salt and pepper on the table.”

Now, she has to make more space for the growing number of salt and pepper shakers by adding more shelves.

“Once you start a collection everybody feels the need to add to it,” she said. “I gathered some very ugly sets this year, so I am very pleased.”

Other collectors have been coming to the event for much longer.

Miriam Welly Elliott, 59, a Gainesville resident, has been bringing her Beatles memorabilia to the Collector’s Day event every year since 1985.

Elliott said she usually comes up with a different theme for her display for each year’s Collector’s Day, and this year, she plans on focusing her collection on John Lennon because of the recent celebration of his would-be 70th birthday.

Elliot has enjoyed the Beatles’ music since she was a teenager and has built upon her collection since then.

One of her favorite aspects about participating in the Collector’s Day is witnessing the Beatles’ music being passed on to younger generations.

“It’s one of the highlights of my year — to be able to take my labor of love and share it with the public,” Elliott said.

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