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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Join the Florida Museum of Natural History from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 23, 2010, for the 31st annual Collectors Day event. Meet local collectors and discover the history and enthusiasm behind their unique displays.

Registration to display collections is open through Dec. 31. Call Tiffany Ireland, 352-273-2061, for more information and to register. The Jan. 23 event is free and open to all ages.

“Collectors Day provides the public with an opportunity to become more than an observer at the museum while focusing on an important component of natural history museums and science — collecting,” said Florida Museum education assistant Tiffany Ireland. “Like scientists, the participants in the event collect as a way of exploring the diversity and history of their area of interest. This event provides them with the rare opportunity to share that knowledge and passion with others.”

This year the Florida Museum is inviting other museums, historical societies and libraries to join the fun. Their participation will show the public how well-documented and preserved personal collections can be the start of a museum or public program. The Waldo Hisotrical Museum, Hawthorne Cultural Center and the High Springs Library Oral History Collection are just a few of the institutions participating.

Miriam Welly Elliot, an avid collector of Beatles memorabilia, has attended Collectors Day since 1984 and started showcasing her collection in 1985. Elliot’s interest in collecting all things Beatles began in 1984 while attending Collectors Day. As she spoke to a collector at the event, they asked Elliot if she collected anything herself. After some thought Elliot realized she had a box of Beatles memorabilia she kept from her teen years.

From that point, Elliot began collecting Beatles jewelry, bubble gum cards, magazine clippings, statues, comic strips and more. Elliot’s most prized Beatles item is her ticket to a 1964 Beatles concert in Jacksonville, which she attended when she was 13 years old.

“Besides sharing my collection, I like hearing stories and memories others have about the Beatles,” Elliot said. “It’s nice to see a renewed passion for the band when I see 7- and 8-year-olds come up to me and say their favorite band is the Beatles, too.”

The 31st annual Collectors Day is sponsored by Home Court Sports in Gainesville.

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Source: Tiffany Ireland, 352-273-2061,
Writer: Patti Nunez
Media contact: Paul Ramey, 352-273-2054,