DEVENS -- Come Saturday, April 19, at 1 p.m. to the Fort Devens Museum to hear four collectors of military paraphernalia astound you with what things they have found to bring home.

They'll show items that fascinate them and tell you why and how such collecting is important in their lives.

All museums are collection-gathering spots, whether for works of art or any conceivable aspect of history or community life. Private individuals are collectors too. Pursuing their drive to bring home things they became fascinated with, they become specialists. They add depth and new dimensions to what a museum with its broader focus cannot convey.

There's no end of what an individual interested in the military might collect. Think of the huge variety of things that an armed service would require and all the units that make up an army or fleet or squadron. Add to that the number of items necessary to outfit an installation for men and women to live, train, or serve on. It goes far beyond weapons and ammunition, even uniforms and vehicles.

Collecting often goes beyond flea markets and yard sales. It's often difficult to put a dollar value on something. The worth of an item may be beyond value as it reminds a family of a cherished person, or it may increase in price as it relates to an age receding continually further back in time and more if connected to some unique happening in that past.

On the other hand, one of the four collectors has written, "It doesn't have to take much money to collect. It takes interest, a place to keep things, and a tolerant spouse. The real fun is the search for the hidden item. A penny found brings more satisfaction than a dollar made."

Fort Devens Museum invites visitors to come prepared to find out what mysterious things these collectors have found and what stories they have about seeking out interesting items. The collectors will have advice for those at any stage in the collecting game: One has been amassing artifacts for only a couple of years and another has almost 60 years of experience. Items to be shown include materials relating to the Civil War, military ephemera [such as posters and photographs], uniforms, and Airborne and Special Forces items.

This event is free and open to the public, though donations are appreciated. The Fort Devens Museum is located on the third-floor at 94 Jackson Road, Devens. The building is wheelchair accessible.

For information about this event call 978-772-1286 or email info@fortdevensmuseum.org.