Starting a 4-H Collection

The main reason people collect is for enjoyment. You collect in a category that you like. Perhaps your collection brings back pleasant memories of your childhood — in this case, maybe that firs 4-H ribbon or the first pie you baked. You remember the nostalgia involved — going to the 4-H fair; the smell of the cotton candy, the midway, the livestock arena, the competitions… fun with friends and family. Your 4-H club meetings were special events on your calendar — perhaps the very first group you belonged to at this early age. 4-H camp may well have been the first experience away from home. Accurately maintaining a 4-H record book, while perhaps not the most pleasant task at the time, was probably a new experience of accountability. And, your first 4-H speech may have been the first time you had to stand up and talk to a group. All of these things are memories and one of the best ways to preserve and relive memories is to collect the artifacts associated with those memories.

Thousand of past 4-H members are active collectors… some just may not know it! May 4-H participants, when through with their 4-H years, packed away their ribbons and buttons and other 4-H items in a shoe box or manila envelope and it ended up in the closet, in a trunk, in the attic or basement… but it still was a collection of memories.

Many 4-H alumni, agents and leaders, even active members, are acquiring impressive 4-H collections in dozens of different areas, particularly in recent years with the ability to surf the Internet, seeking items for their collections.

The National 4-H History Preservation Program, through a special website — — is helping these collectors by gathering information on various collecting areas and providing channels of communications so collectors can communicate with one another. Personal 4-H collections are an important and integral part of national 4-H history.

For additional information visit the website or contact the history program at:

Larry Krug

WA collection of pins and buttons for 4-H.