In Exploration #9, Keri Smith asks her explorers to collect items “that you do not understand or have meaning for.” To complete this exploration, I decided to search every nook and cranny in my old dorm to find collectibles. To my surprise I found a handful of small items that I did not have meaning to. I recorded the items, placed them in my vessel (an Altoids tin), and called it a day.

The items collected ranged greatly. I found everything from an acorn to a blank key. I could find no apparent use or meaning for any of these items, much less how they found their way into my room. But now, as I stare at my little collection, which I named The Useless Museum in class, I see that all these items are not completely useless.

For instance, the bright pink spongy sphere with glistening strips of plastic sticking, lime green plastic bead, and emerald green plastic gem can all be used for decorations or crafts. They definitely look like something my five year old sister would use to create another masterpiece, and, although I cannot find a use for them, she would get a kick out of incorporating them into her works.

There’s also the rusty quarter that is hardly recognizable. I wonder how it accumulated so much rust; I’ve seen older coins that are in a lot better condition. Perhaps it sat at the bottom of a pond for a long time, thrown in in exchange for a wish. Regardless of the rust and how it accumulated, the quarter continues to be money and can be used. I may not have much use for a rusty quarter, but to someone who is homeless and doesn’t have much, if any, money, a quarter could be the differences between a meal or going hungry.

Another example is the blank key. This key is just waiting to be used! It may not have a lock to open right now, but, if I ever needed a copy of a key made, I could go to a local hardware store and have the key cut. Just because they key is not opening anything right now does not mean it doesn’t have the potential to.

Even the acorn can be of use; I may not need it, but I’m sure there is a hungry squirrel out there looking for lunch.

The uselessness of these items are only superficial. At first glance, they may appear to be trash, but, upon further inspection, it is evident that each of these items have a unique purpose. The key is to look at the bigger picture: if you cannot find meaning for these items, think about how others could. The fact that I cannot find a purpose for these items doesn’t necessarily mean that these items are completely useless.

Maybe I should consider renaming my museum..