Some people would say George Maier has a lot of "stuff," but all the stuff means a lot to the 93-year-old.
"If I had to pick just one, I couldn't," said George Maier.
From a 13 star flag, to pieces from Japanese planes during World War II, to a padlock reportedly taken during a bank robbery.
Those and many more items are available for viewing at the George Maier Rural Heritage Museum in Elkader.
"Most of them who come in here just can't believe what's in here."
Maier lives in rural Garber. He started collecting items during WW II, including a coconut he sent home to his mother from New Guinea.
"Every time I saw something I picked it up and said a good souvenir," said Maier.
When George Maier got home from the service, a friend asked him to try to fix a couple clocks, which is what got him started collecting clocks.
"I got up to 400 clocks, and I saw this other stuff getting kicked around, so I sold part of my clocks and I started buying this other stuff," he said.
George said he bought everything at farm sales, and he said he only traveled within about 20 miles of his home. The entire museum is full, but it's still not everything George has.
"Every year I try to bring something new," he said.
At the museum, you'll get a look at backwards clocks, household items and so much more.
"I was amazed as most people are. He's done a lot for a long time to collect and maintain and make sure rural life is not forgotten," said Museum Board Advisor Ellen Collins.
Collins said it's definitely an educational experience for anyone who visits the museum.
During the winter, George takes all of his items home for safe keeping.
"If you want something to last forever, you've got to take care of it, and I want this to last forever," said George Maier.
To help make sure this collection and the story of our way of life lives on, an endowment fund was set up so even after George is gone the museum will hopefully remain operational, giving eastern Iowans an up-close look at history.
If you'd like to make a donation to the endowment fund to keep the museum operating for many years to come, send a donation to:
George Maier Rural Heritage
700 Locust Street
Dubuque, Iowa 52052
Reporter: Danielle Wagner
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