Friday, June 4, 2010

Rosary Collection at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center

The things that one can find in small towns always amaze me. And probably more remarkable is that some people have the foresight to do something with such finds when they surface to the pubic. Such is the case with Don Brown's Rosary Collection.

A resident of Skamania County, he was an avid collector of rosaries from around the world. While some people have idle collections, and pick up trinkets and nicknacks on trips, this collection of rosaries, numbering in the thousands, is beyond the pursuit of hobbyists. It falls well into the realm of obsession.

The rosaries in the collection range from ones made from simple glass beads to finely honed gems, carved bone to ornate metalwork. One particularly interesting design has swastikas emblazoned within the beadwork, a symbol not of Nazi Germany, but pre-dating that eras usage. While the swastika has been around for centuries, early Christians used the bent cross shape to symbolize good luck and Christ's victory over death before the contemporary bastardization of the symbol.

The majority of Brown's rosaries are on display at the Interpretive Center. Amazingly, this collection was not parsed out and sold as many collections of its kind are after the owners death. Walking through the room of glass cases filled with hooks hanging with these prayer beads is truly an interesting experience.
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