Postcard, Edmonton c. 1915–1920 view of Low Level Bridge and Hotel Macdonald [2021-31-10]
Edmonton pin, c. 1920s [1982-25-112]
A magnet, postcard, or t-shirt in a gift shop is just a simple object until you find the one that represents your trip to that location, attendance at that event, or memory of an experience. Once you choose your object, it not only becomes a true souvenir, but a precious treasure that links you to a meaningful time and place. Regardless of the cash value of the souvenir, its ability to evoke a fond memory and hold the meaning you have attributed to it, makes it into a touchstone of remembrance.
According to travel writer Rolf Potts, “souvenirs are a metaphor for how lived experience can endow most any object with personal significance.” Once a souvenir takes on that meaning-making function, it is considered treasure.