Re|Collect: Memories of Childhood

This is an online archive of the exhibition Re|Collect: Memories of Childhood, a narrative-based community exhibition open from May 2016 to March 2017 in the CSUSB Anthropology Musuem. The physical exhibition was divided into five themed sections, an introductory case, and a separate case curated by students at Del Rosa Elementary School. Select a title below to read the narratives and view the objects that were on display. Thank you to all our community participants.

INTRODUCTION

Our Families, Our Selves

The objects collected here reflect the experience of growing up as part of a family. Central to the stories are intense emotions that arise when those with shared interests are living in close quarters. Where relationships became strained, or loved ones have been lost, the keepers of these objects are left with bittersweet memories. 

Connections & Continuities

As we grow older, things change. We grow, learn, and transform. Our wisdom sharpens as our bodies age, and time marches on. But there are some things that endure – continuities intentionally preserved or accidentally maintained between generations or across the lifespan. It is to these things that we can turn to remind ourselves of where we came from, and who it is that we are. The objects collected here each represent for their keepers some part of the past that remains present – in practice or in spirit – in character traits, ethical stances, personal passions, or family traditions.

Trials, Triumphs, & Tribulations

As a part of human nature, we crave the approval of others. This originates in our ancestors’ quest for status and social recognition as a pathway to resources and reproduction. Today, these instincts have shifted from matters of survival to social identity. The resultant drive to fit in can be obstacle to adolescent self-acceptance. The objects collected here speak to the quest of carving out a place for oneself in relation to others as a part of growing up.

Doors & Windows

When a door shuts sometimes, if we are lucky, a window opens. The objects collected here and the related memories of their keepers illustrate both adversity and opportunity. Challenge and chance are sometimes connected. Hardships can inspire the quest for making a positive impact on the world. The objects collected here represent for their keepers luck, divine providence, and the determination with which one can rise from rock-bottom to shine. 

Presence of the Past

In the course of our lives, we are sometimes told to forget about the past, or to move on – to live in the present. Such advice overlooks the fact that our past, and so our memories, form the architecture of the here and now. We can draw out new ideas and life lessons each time we look to our history. The past is, in this sense, always present. The objects collected here attest to the significance of the past as a basis of wisdom, a foundation for identity, and a source of comfort.