Un-multi-tasking

Curators

I think it is so interesting how certain words get appropriated. A "curator", according to a dictionary definition is:

(from Latin: curare, meaning "to take care") is a manager or overseer. Traditionally, a curator or keeper of a cultural heritage institution (e.g., gallery, museum, library, or archive) is a content specialist charged with an institution's collections and involved with the interpretation of heritage material.


n. mid-14c., from Latin curator "overseer, manager, guardian," agent noun from curatus, past participle of curare (see cure (v.)). Originally of those put in charge of minors, lunatics, etc.; meaning "officer in charge of a museum, library, etc." is from 1660s.


I have always held curators in high regard- as experts in their field- whose skills allow them to make a careful selection and assemble a high quality show. In our world Nancy Crow, Petra Fallaux, and Pat Pauly come to mind as three curators whose selections are beyond reproach.  But of late, I have noticed that different kinds of objects can be curated. I remember the first time I read a menu that offered a "carefully curated selection of meat and cheese" or a book club list with a curated selection of the best non-fiction. These are, of course, completely appropriate uses of the word, but more and more I hear the word being used for selections that probably do not merit the label "curated."
Yesterday my son dumped a huge load of t-shirts that he had borrowed from my husband. There were so many that they filled an immense yellow Ikea bag- probably about three or four years of borrowed t-shirts- many of which were easily 8-10 years old. I suggested that the entire bag be put out for Goodwill but that was quickly vetoed. Before I could stop myself I blurted out, "Well at least curate the selection and get rid of the ones that are threadbare."  My comment drew strange looks- and I am not sure if it was my flip usage of the word "curate" or the suggestion that we throw out or donate the t-shirts. The bag of t-shirts sits on my bedroom floor.

I have decided to curate a selection and quietly dispense the balance for donation. I figure that  I deserve the title "curator" since this is clearly a heritage selection saved by a sometimes lunatic who is incapable of throwing anything out. While my selection will never rise to the level of the great museum curators- it will free up floor space.