It started with a carousel horse and continued from there.
Lorene Whitehouse’s collection of music boxes began 30 years ago with that ceramic horse.
“The first one I got, I bought for myself,” she said. “I really love carousel horses.
Her collection expanded as her family and friends presented her with a variety of music boxes as gifts.
”My sister gave me the chicken because my father was in the chicken business.”
S.E. Rupp ran a hatchery for 30 years in the building that later housed the Morenci Flower Shop.
Another, of a geisha in a glass case, was a gift from a former Japanese exchange student.
The honky tonk piano player music box was a gift bought with Lorene’s husband, Keith, in mind. Another gift, a slot machine music box, reminds her of vacations spent in Las Vegas.
Lorene bought several ceramic music boxes that depict characters from Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit books.
“I love those stories,” she said.
And young visitors, especially, share her love of the music boxes. One, crafted from wood, plays “The Farmer in the Dell.”
“Little kids under five just love it,” she said.
“The grandchildren and great-grandchildren have had bundles of fun with them,” she said. “They have to play their favorites.”
She displays her collection in a hutch in her dining room when it’s not on display at Morenci's Stair Public Library.