New KSU Museum Exhibit Focuses on Private Collections

Kelli Fitzpatrick

The Kent State University Museum is presenting a yearlong exhibit of private collections of art pottery and “functional art.”

The exhibit, entitled Collectors and Collecting, is on display in the museum’s Tarter/Miller, Mull and Palmer Galleries until June 2011.

Collectors and Collecting “considers what it means to collect and why people do that,” museum curator Sara Hume said. The exhibit focuses on private collections, which were donated throughout, or after, the collectors’ lives.

To create the exhibit, Hume pulled select groupings of objects from the museum’s property, producing “individual collections within one large collection.”

The first gallery of the exhibit utilizes the museum’s holding of Ohio art pottery, most of which comes from the Paige Palmer and Jabe Tarter and Paul Miller collections. The Paige Palmer collection consists of intricate bowls and vases.

Donations from Tarter and Miller, who left over 10,000 objects to the Kent State Museum, include vases and jugs from the turn of the 19th century.

The exhibit continues with a display of “functional art,” an array of objects from the museum’s Wilkinson-Gould, Silverman-Rodger and Carolyn and Robert Bemis collections. These collections include painted snuffboxes, porcelain bowls, horn-shaped inkwells, wax seals and even small beaded purses.

Collectors and Collecting concludes in the Palmer Gallery, where lamps from the Tarter and Miller collection take center stage. Electric, oil and — of course — lava lamps line the walls.

“Someone decided they needed to have all of these things,” Hume said, “and I found that intriguing.”

[email protected]