By James Vair
From avid accumulators to their casual counterparts, the process of amassing items with a shared theme is a near universal experience. It’s an activity that can transcend generations and all types of interests and backgrounds. Since virtually everything has the potential to be collected, the sky truly is the limit. Some items like stamps, currency, comics, and stuffed animals will forever be synonymous as popular collector’s items. Regardless of the size and shape of a collector’s prized possessions, however, there is always a story behind what motivated him to begin collecting.
Donimik Sasim of Warsaw, Poland is by no means an exception. For more than five years, Sasim has been accumulating museum pins and badges from across the globe. The Museum of Lake Minnetonka first heard his story last summer, when he requested that we send a little piece of the lake to him. According to his most recent count, Sasim’s collection has approached nearly 1,500 unique pieces, nearly half of them being from outside of Poland.
Like many things, Sasim’s current collection began while working on a previous project.
“My hobby began with the collection of post stamps together with my father,” Sasim explains in an interview with Concord’s Point Lighthouse in Maryland (to which he had also requested a pin). “Later I switched to badges and label pins from various museums.” A museum’s location or specialty doesn’t deter Sasim. “My collection expands mainly thanks to exchanges with other collectors as well as via internet auctions. My friends and colleagues also remember my hobby and often bring these small souvenirs for me from their domestic or international voyages. Additionally, I often visit museums myself in search of new gadgets for my collection.”
Pieces of Sasim’s collection not only come from across the world, but also from a wide variety of different museum types and historic monuments. His oldest and most valuable piece dates from 1933 and comes from the now-defunct Museum of Archaeology in Warsaw. Another historic piece is a 1935 badge from the mausoleum of famous Polish aviators Zwirko and Wigura, located in Cierlicko.
While all items in his vast assortment of museum memorabilia are special, Sasim has pieces he finds especially exceptional. “My favorite badge is the one from the Juna Museum of Earth from Szkarska Poeba in Poland,” he writes. “As well as the badge representing [the schooner] Bluenose II from the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic in New Scotland.”
What did we send Mr. Sasim? While it would be difficult to send Minnehaha herself all the way to Poland, the MLM did manage to send him a pin and booklet to find a new home in his collection. And thus, Minnehaha’s story continues to reach across the globe, even to those who have yet to experience her in person.