IMAGE THERAPY BOOSTED BY EPHEMERA
By John G. Sayers
Three years ago I was approached about providing images for the Sunnybrook Veterans Hospital in Toronto for a new program they were launching – Image Therapy. It was based on the premise that familiar images can help slow down the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. I knew nothing about the background research, but like any ephemera collector, I knew that I had a lot of images.
For the 700 elderly veterans in residence at the Veterans Hospital, the displays have reportedly been a real hit. Every couple of months, I scan and supply to the Therapist 25 to 30 images for a particular theme. She then has the scans blown up (for easier reading of images and their words) and dry mounted for display in cases near her office. She reports that where a resident admires a specific image and requests a copy, she will give the mounted image to the vet at the end of the display period, to enjoy in his own room. Images of one of the cases are provided showing three displays done at different times.
What sort of topics are popular? I began (since it was spring) with images of baseball memorabilia, including programs, tickets, past players, and so on. Then came ocean liners (my primary collecting interest), then shops in small towns, followed by interior images of department stores. A display of 'comic' postcards was very popular, particularly some of those considered 'saucy' in the 1920s and 30s. I’m now out of fresh comic images, having done different displays on 3 separate occasions!
Three different Christmas displays over the years have been a real success, primarily based on vintage Christmas postcards but also including vintage greeting cards. A display of "Florida in the 1950s" linen postcard images brightened up the winter months a year ago.
Yes, there’s a challenge to coming up with new ideas, but going to enough shows and spending a few dollars for caches of related paper with good visual qualities helps. Also, some other collectors have assisted in supplying postcard images for a particular theme, such as Valentines Day.
Three years completed – with many more ahead. We will keep going with new themes and new images. That's one of the beauties of ephemera – there's a vast supply of fascinating and varied material. If you get a chance to support an Image Therapy program in your community, take up the challenge and you’ll enjoy helping the veterans who have done so much in the past for our nation.
John Sayers can be reached at email@example.com