Framing Your Collection

Framing4Text by Katie Wood 

Bring your collection out of the shadows and into the spotlight with a creative shadow box display.

Twenty-five years after receiving a corkscrew as a gift from his parents, Gordon McGee can’t help but continue to hunt for new and interesting styles. His collection started because he admired not only the corkscrew’s beauty and unique craftsmanship but because they were easy to collect and gave his travels an added sense of purpose. “If you go back in time, 100 or 150 years ago, wine was not very popular in the Deep South,” he says, noting consequently most of the corkscrews he’s found were in antiques shops outside the South and in Europe. “For me it was all about the hunt.”

Instead of storing his collection in a drawer or cabinet, hidden from sight and most likely collecting dust, Gordon thought to frame portions of his collection in shadow boxes to showcase his efforts. “I can see them now,” he says of the framed corkscrews hanging in his home office. “I can glance up, and they’re prominently displayed. They bring me a lot of enjoyment just to see them.” Gordon adds that with some things collected, “you remember when or where you got them and the circumstances or the people you met along the way, so many of them have their own little story.”


Patty Arceneaux, owner of Arceneaux Gallery in Homewood, Alabama, says she’s seeing more and more people like Gordon bring in their collections—whether they be old photographs, wax seals, antique fishing lures, maps, arrowheads, or something totally unique—to have them framed in shadow boxes to be displayed in their homes. “When those things are out in front of you, you really get to appreciate them,” she says of framed collections.

Patty adds that when dealing with personal mementos or antiques, especially when it comes to framing these precious items, it is important to use the right materials like conservation mattes and backing to ensure your treasured items stay preserved. She recommends allowing a professional to help or advise your endeavors. At the Arceneaux Gallery the staff works to design a creative grouping that will turn your collection into art.Framing3

For more information on the Arceneaux Gallery, visit, or call 205-802-5800.