Collector's Stigma
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Politics and Activism

Collector's Stigma

Preserving the past can sometimes come with a social price.

Collector's Stigma

The past is something that is never fluid. Most anything is set in stone once the event has passed. It does not change. The only thing that may change is our understanding of it as new evidence is brought to light. That being said there is a very valid reason for preserving those relics from the past that have survived. Unfortunately, there occasionally is a certain stigma attached to various items that are deemed worth saving. Items that are connected to war often fall into this category.

To the victor go the spoils, and the losers get the shame of having been wrong. This often means that artifacts from the losing side are gotten rid of and destroyed. Those that choose to hang on to these objects are then misconstrued of having similar values to those that held or used them to begin with. A person who collects items from Nazi era Germany might be mistaken for someone who is racist, antisemitic, or something worse. Someone who collects items from the same time period but that originated in France, Russia, or the United Kingdom they could be seen as a person who is sentimental or just wants to understand better what a family member experienced. While either of these lines of thought could be entirely true, it is most often a collection of mixed ideas that can lead to a collection of these polarized medals and artifacts.

To a college student studying history, mixed motivations for starting a collection are often the case. A personal interest in the time period is normally a given. It would be a pity to spend so much time and money tracking down something that could not hold your interest for more than a few minutes. A personal connection is another common thread. Having a family member who fought, lived through, or died during the war of interest could be a strong motivator to either avoid or gather information and objects associated with it. Other times the collector may agree with the values of the man who proudly wore the badge that now sits in your hand. It is this last that can cause offense when none is necessary if those around you assume that because you bought it you agree with what it stood for.

That is often the one stigma that never leaves. There can be a collection, but when it is viewed sometimes people cannot see past the several objects that represent the darker half of a war. For some, they can't stomach the thought. For others, they find the mere presence of such objects abhorrent. Preserving objects from the past, even those that represent two sides of a bloody war, is a worthwhile task, even if it can sometimes equate to social suicide.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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