The Smithsonian Magazine

The Smithsonian MagazineAngels

Halfway through her two-hour tour, Joyce Berg – resplendent in halo, gold lame’ robe and rip-away wings (is there Velcro in heaven?) – stands in the guest bedroom of her home in Beloit, Wisconsin.

“And when you run out of space…,” she says, opening the drapes with a flourish, “… you take out a window.” And lo; instead of an end view of the neighbor’s house, there appear another 200 angels – part of 8,366 amassed since 1976, when Joyce and her husband, Lowell, started “picking up souvenirs” on car trips.

Pointing out her favorite “angel of the month” series, Joyce recalls one of their great collecting moments – “Lowell, remember when we found February?” He sure does. Joyce, he says, has catalogued every angel. “She writes down where she bought it, when, what she paid, whether the clerk was bald; you know, all the important stuff.”