Public Collectors

Some of Public Collectors' collections, 2009. Courtesy Marc Fischer.

Some of Public Collectors' collections, 2009. Courtesy Marc Fischer.

Public Collectors is a project run by Marc Fischer in Chicago. It began with the notion that there are all sorts of things that libraries, museums, and other institutions that store cultural objects don’t incorporate into their own collections. Alongside the public collecting of these institutions, there are a host of people out in the world who collect just these sorts of “miscellaneous” objects themselves, maintaining them at their home in private collections. Fischer asks these sorts of collectors to organize their collections and make them available publicly. Public Collectors identifies a deficiency in a system and attempts to remedy it with another system. This remedy is less formal, rooted in mutual enthusiasm, and played out in a private space made public.

On the Public Collectors website, one can peruse the inventories of these collections and arrange to visit them. Most of them are in Chicago, but there are also collections in London, Iowa City, Baltimore, and De Pere, Wisconsin.

Last month Public Collectors launched a new blog that spotlights various objects in the collections. So far, they’ve ranged from a twenty-five year old issue of High Performance to a 1960 book of typography, thrown out by a Chicago public library, that instructs the reader in the art of making hand-painted signs. More variously assimilable examples are posted on the blog every few days or so.

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