Activity: We Collect/You Collect

  • Grades: All Ages
  • Subjects: Art Activities

This art activity is all about exploring our collection and your own personal collections—inspired by TOPPS Trading Cards! Shortly after their original trading card debut in 1949, the Topps Company, Inc., released a series of vehicle collector cards. By 1954, when the two cards you see here were published, young people all over the United States were collecting and trading cards. The TOPPS Company, Inc., is known for baseball cards, but they also published many other series of cards including military vehicles, cowboys, and characters from pop culture.

A trading card from the 1950s features an illustration of a large, brightly colored lumber truck. The words “lumber truck,” “straddle type,” and “specialized vehicle” are printed on the card.
The Topps Company, Inc., TOPPS Collectors Cards, Lumber Truck (Trading Card), 1954, Carnegie Museum of Art
A trading card from the 1950s features an illustration of a large, brightly colored street-sweeping truck. The words “Elgin Sweeper Truck” and “Utility Vehicle” are printed on the card.
The Topps Company, Inc., TOPPS Collectors Cards, Elgin Sweeper Truck (Trading Card), 1954, Carnegie Museum of Art

See and Think:

  • Check out Lumber Truck: Straddle Type and the Elgin Sweeper Truck, both in our collection.
  • Take some time to explore the rest of the TOPPS Company Trading Cards in our collection.
  • What kinds of collections do you have? Which objects started your collections?

Do: Create Your Own Trading Cards

Materials Needed: Paper and pencil (or something else to draw with)

  1. Take a few minutes to explore our collection of TOPPS Company Trading Cards. Trading cards are typically small and handheld and include a picture of an object with a few important facts about the object.
  2. Now think about your own collection. Maybe you collect coffee mugs, Matchbox cars, books, socks, pens, umbrellas, or something else!
  3. Create your own set of trading cards to represent your collection!