Jim and I have had the opportunity to travel to a number of foreign countries. Sometimes it has been to visit our children who were doing international work and sometimes it was for international organizations we belong to. In the course of our travels we’ve collected quite a few interesting artifacts and mementos. It has been a joy and may sound rather impressive but it also means that we have artifacts from 3 African countries, 5 Asian countries, 2 Latin American countries, and 7 European countries. Some of them we display but we don’t want our house to look like a museum. So what does one do with items that are not really useful for every day life?

Days 365+85 jembe drum w leaves SFDS croppedBlack History month provided me with a partial solution.

Djembe drum – Our parish has a nice racial mix and I love drums. I decided to donate our Malian djembe drum to the Church choir – a win/win situation. I don’t really lose it. I get to enjoy the oomph it adds to our liturgical music.

Kenyan cloth – Since the grade school connected with our parish is close to 100% African American students, Black History Month is a time to celebrate their African heritage. It seemed like the perfect time to donate a cloth that had Kenya written all over it.

Days 365+88 goat bagGoat hide bag – As our daughter, Heidi, said when she brought this bag home as a Christmas present, “Every well-dressed Malian boy has to have a goat skin backpack.” I added that to the Black History Month decorations.

As convenient as these solutions were, we still have plenty of foreign artifacts. Some of them deserve to be displayed with honor as a remembrance, but there’s only so much room for wall decorations before it looks cluttered. It’s hard to find an appropriate place to give primitive sculptures and masks.

What do you do when mementos multiply and become more clutter than cherished? Think schools, scouts, churches, and children.

PS: Interested in doing something as a family for Black History Month or to address racism; see Erasing Racism.