‘Fun & Fulfillment with Thematics’ with Jean Wang: April 4

A champion of thematic exhibiting, Toronto’s Jean Wang wants to show the world of philately why thematic collecting is so fun and fulfilling.

A member of the North Toronto Stamp Club (NTSC), Wang became the first person to win a Grand Award for a thematic exhibit at a Canadian national-level exhibition last October. Her five-frame thematic exhibit, “Blood: A Modern Medicine,” took home the top honour at Canpex.

“It’s a good entry point to the hobby for a lot of collectors, especially young collectors, who often start with a topical collection,” said Wang, who’s also a member of Canada Post’s 12-person Stamp Advisory Committee.

Her presentation – to be held April 4 – will explore how to move from a nascent topical collection to a single- or multi-frame exhibit.

“There are a lot of people who start collecting something that’s related to their work,” said Wang, who’s a clinician scientist and staff hematologist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, where she carries out leukemia research.

Wang’s five-frame exhibit, ‘Blood: A Modern Medicine,’ became the first thematic exhibit to win a Grand Award at a Canadian national-level show last fall.

Five years in the making, her exhibit has also taken home countless other awards since she first showed it at the now-defunct Canadian Stamp Dealers’ Association (CSDA) show in 2014.

After making consistent updates and adding three frames to what was originally a two-frame exhibit, Wang is eager to show fellow collectors how to follow a path to success and, more importantly, to get more enjoyment out of their collection.

She began her thematic collection after joining the NTSC in 2013 and the online forum Stampboards in 2011.

“Once I had enough stuff and started talking to John Wilson, he goaded me into making an exhibit, and it hooked me,” said Wang, who’s also on the NTSC’s exhibition committee and serves as the club’s newsletter editor.

“People get intimated by exhibiting. They think there are lots of rules or it’s hard and intimidating, but it’s actually a lot of fun. I’ve learned so much – not just about philately, but about medicine and the history of blood transfusion, things they never taught in medical school. I love the social history aspect of collecting, and I would never have delved into all that without doing this exhibit.”

Her exhibit has also opened the door to presentations on the social history of transfusion medicine to non-philatelic groups like the Canadian Society for Transfusion Medicine.

“It’s so exotic to them because if you don’t collect, you have no idea how philately works,” she said, adding the audience – unfamiliar with the wonderful world of worldwide stamps – was impressed by a simple Hungarian stamp showing blood donation.

“Collecting the stamps and putting them in the correct spaces in an album is great and how most of us got started, but when you start writing up your collection and making pages and researching, it really brings it all together and makes you look at your collection like you never did before.”

Wang’s presentation will be held from 2:30 p.m.-4 p.m. in the Hazel McCallion B room.

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