British Columbia

Collections and connections explored in Museum of Vancouver exhibit

Music posters, pinball tables, thousands of action figures and decades of Chinese food menus — they're all here at the Museum of Vancouver.

'All Together Now: Vancouver Collectors and Their Worlds' opens Thursday and runs until January

Viviane Gosselin, curator of contemporary culture at the Museum of Vancouver stands before a wall of Chinese food menus at "All Together Now: Vancouver Collectors and Their Worlds." (Lisa Christiansen/CBC)

Last year, the Museum of Vancouver put a call to local collectors, saying "the museum wants to explore the mindset of passionate 'hunters and gatherers' and showcase their favourite pieces."

After looking through hundreds of collections, 20 were chosen, and a new exhibit, "All Together Now: Vancouver Collectors and Their Worlds" will open this week featuring those wide-ranging — and sometimes slightly weird — collections.

"I've been in the museum biz for a while. I've been collecting collectors, literally," Viviane Gosselin, curator of contemporary culture at the museum told On The Coast's Lisa Christiansen.

"Lots of interesting collectors that I've felt like at one point, we really need to work with these people, they're doing such interesting things."

"The aim behind [this] is to really talk about the role of collectors as people helping us make all kinds of connections — connections with things, with ideas and with other people."

The collections at the exhibit are wide-ranging. There are antique circus pieces, pinball equipment and even a massive collection of Chinese food menus over the years.

One collection at the exhibit features pinball and arcade machines. Above the pinball machine and Donkey Kong machine are two inserts for pinball tables. (Lisa Christiansen/CBC)

"Through those mundane documents you can actually see the history of food and the history of transnational culture," Gosselin said of the menus, which feature ever-changing items through the years.

One collection, consisting of thousands of action figures from films like Star Wars, the Smurfs and more, took museum staff more than two days to install.

"It's a memory trigger; a lot of people remember playing with those," Gosselin said. "You have these conversations taking place between these people who don't even know each other, so that's the great thing about collections. It's a conversation piece."

"All Together Now: Vancouver Collectors and Their Worlds" opens Thursday and runs until January.

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast

One collection features thousands of action figures: including many figures of Buzz Lightyear, a fictional character in the Toy Story franchise. (Lisa Christiansen/CBC)

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