A collection of electric drills owned by Bonny Doon woodworker Sandor Nagyszalanczy is part of the  Santa Cruz Collects  exhibit on display through Nov.
A collection of electric drills owned by Bonny Doon woodworker Sandor Nagyszalanczy is part of the Santa Cruz Collects exhibit on display through Nov. 25. (Shmuel Thaler/Santa Cruz Sentinel)

The current exhibit at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History titled "Santa Cruz Collects" could be renamed -- with all due respect to the late TV host Art Linkletter -- "Collectors Amass the Darndest Things."

This is one show that every antiques hobbyist should catch, between now and Nov. 25.

Visitors may be amused at some of the objects on view. Garden gnomes, toasters, American flags, decorated eggs, animal skulls and even dryer lint vie equally for viewers' attention. These collections are owned by a cross section of Santa Cruz County individuals and institutions.

But this fascinating exhibit also poses some serious questions: Should we call ourselves hoarders, or are we collectors? Do we need museums to store such artifacts? What do these saved items tell us about ourselves?

Check it out for yourself at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, 705 Front St., Santa Cruz. Admission: $5 adults, $3 seniors, free first Friday of the month. Hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. Details: 831-429-1964 or www.santacruzmah.org.

Rocks star

Geodes, faceted stones and fossils will be displayed at the 45th annual Harvest of Gems and Minerals Show, put on Sept. 15-16 by the Sequoia Gem and Mineral Society.

At the yearly extravaganza, you'll see lapidary artists and other artisans who create such objects as stone boxes, bookends, clocks and toy marbles. Some exhibits will feature impressive dinosaur bones and fossils.


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To partake in the fun, be at the Community Activities Building, 1400 Roosevelt Ave., Redwood City. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission: $3. Children under 12 get in free when accompanied by an adult. Parking is free. Details: 650-755-8753.

East Bay shopping

One of my favorite places to shop for vintage treats in the East Bay is Quail Country Antiques in Walnut Creek. While it's fun to head that direction and poke around the jam-packed collective, I admit it's sometimes easier to shop online. In fact, these days it makes sense.

When you go to www.quailcountryantiques.com, you'll encounter a number of links. Go to "catalog" for a list of current offerings. Right now, I'm eyeing this "cute as a bug's ear" German candy container shaped as a rooster that is tagged $125. One nice thing about this emporium is that any item purchased online may be returned for any reason within 72 hours.

Prefer to shop in person? Then visit Quail Country Antiques, 1581 Boulevard Way, Walnut Creek. Phone: 925-944-0930.

A show with a view

Within the past year, the Goat Hill Fair has twice dazzled Bay Area collectors with its picturesque Santa Cruz Mountains setting. If you have yet to take in the neat rolling hills, sturdy barn, stately farmhouse, old-growth trees, super vendors, fine vittles and a herd of live goats, be sure to attend the celebration.

Here you search for goodies frequently labeled "shabby chic," "country," "primitive," "repurposed," "French" or "farmhouse." These trendy wares are popular with decorators and designers.

The fair is at Yoder's Goat Farm, 24915 Soquel-Old San Jose Highway, Los Gatos. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 15 and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sept. 16. Admission: $5. Park at Loma Prieta School on Summit Road using the free shuttle, or park nearby in a meadow. If you choose the latter, know there's a steep hill to contend with. Details: 408-221-5054, www.goathillfair.com.

All aboard

If you recall a time when the sound of a distant train whistle was deemed romantic, engineer your way over to the Los Altos History Museum on Sept. 22 and 23 for Train Days.

You'll see all sorts of intricate model railroads. Adults, like me, will journey back in time to when toy trains were all the rage.

The Los Altos History Museum is stationed (behind the library) at 51 N. San Antonio Road, Los Altos. Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Members: free. Nonmembers: $10 family donation suggested. Children under 12 must be with an adult. Food vendors will be on site. Details: 650-948-9427, www.losaltoshistory.org.

Shopping alert

The Lace Museum will conduct its semiannual sale Sept. 14 and 15. The event serves as a fundraiser for the nonprofit. Look for lace-edged handkerchiefs, pillow cases, table runners, bedspreads, napkins and lots more.

The museum is at 552 S. Murphy Ave., Sunnyvale. Sale hours: 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Details: 408-730-4695, www.thelacemuseum.org.

Contact Steven Wayne Yvaska at steve.yvaska@sbcglobal.net.