Archie traveling display shows collection of memorabilia
Steamboat Springs — Upon entering the Bud Werner Memorial Library, there is a display of Archie memorabilia that serves as a portal to one’s childhood innocence. Archie lunch boxes, buttons, games, music records, clothing, figurines and watches — all are evidence to the legacy Archie comics created.
It all started with one woman’s passion.
“I’ve always had a passion for collecting, but finding these things gives me that sense of finding a treasure,” said Nancy Silberkleit, co-CEO of Archie Comics. “I think that children, even adults, need a hobby — an interest — even if it’s the art of collecting because it helps in many ways and builds one’s confidence. Bullying is mean, and one needs that superhuman power to block out the noise and have faith in themselves.”
Silberkleit has one of the biggest collections of Archie memorabilia, which she has been acquiring since the 1980s. Even today, she is finding new trinkets from flea markets, antique stores and the Internet.
The Archie collection started with her husband’s love for the comic books. After he died in 2008, she rediscovered a love for reading through the Archie comic series.
“You know, when you read a good story that touches your heart, it stays with you,” Silberkleit said. “The Archie comic touched me emotionally, and I think that’s what’s happened to people around the globe who can relate to these characters and sympathize with them.”
For years she stored the memorabilia in various drawers or closets until a mother reached out to her and said, “My daughter is doing a project on Archie comics, and she would like to know if she can interview you, but she also needs documentation of any history you have.” After agreeing to the interview and allowing the mother and her daughter go through her collection, Silberkleit thought: Why not lend various items to libraries around the nation as a traveling display?
With Archie headquarters located in Mamaroneck, N.Y., the first exhibit was held at the local library in Mamaroneck. Since then, it has traveled to Salt Lake City, Vero Beach, Fla. and more. The display of about 74 items will be at the Bud Werner Memorial Library until Saturday.
“It’s really great to see some of the stuff that I remember from when I was a kid,” said Karen Fitzgerald, who creates a majority of the library displays. “My brother and I remember reading the comic books. Those were always around.”
The Archie story, written by Michael Uslan and artists Stan Goldberg and Bob Smith, takes place in the futuristic small town of Riverdale. The series that dates back to 1942 chronicles the lives of characters, Archie Andrews, Veronica Lodge, Betty Cooper, Jughead Jones, Reggie Mantle, Cheryl Blossom, Mr. Weatherbee, Mr. Lodge and many more.
“I believe it is the conversation of people from around the globe that have perpetuated this iconic brand,” said Silberkleit. “I think that is sparked by the Archie stories that have values of friendship, compassion and support. Those values we share around the globe, no matter where you stand.”
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