Monday 27 May 2024

Leaving the Past to the Future 7: Preserving Memorabilia

In the first blog post about this subject, I mentioned preserving memorabilia (4 March 2024 – Organizing Your Information). I have written before about photos and photo albums (What will we do with future photos, Prized Old Photos, Digitizing Memories, My amazing picture-taking machines), home movies (Preserving Home Movies), family memorabilia (Memorabilia, Old Heirloom Watches), school records (My Mother’s Scrapbook), furniture and antiques (The Old Rocking Chair’s Got Me).

I am a collector of old family stuff: photos (of course), antiques and furniture, drawings, woodworking projects, souvenirs, brochures, bibles, area history publications, family correspondence, cards (birthday, anniversary, Mothers’ and Fathers’ Day), tape and video recordings, phonograph records, tools, farm implements, toys, musical instruments, cameras, various types of collections, artwork (both professional and pieces done by children and grandchildren) and assorted mementoes of family activities, events, workplaces and life milestones.

I still have all the report cards and many of the projects our children brought home from school. These have been digitized so their families can see them easily (and in case they get lost, damaged or thrown out).

And, as I have written about before, all the old original family documents are secured in binders or in my safe.

My family laughs at me for keeping it all but, to my mind these things represent family history. They were important to people who owned and used them.

As much as I have, I am still surprised and annoyed with myself for having given away or discarded many items.

We have given (or will give) a few things to children and grandchildren. By doing so we at least keep them in the family and imbue the recipients with some sense of their ancestral history.

Now that we are in our probable last home, I have made a point of bringing many things out of their storage boxes to display them. A lot of comments are made by preservationists about keeping material in archive-like containers to prevent their deterioration. That is a good idea for many things but putting them out on shelves or hanging them on walls so that people, especially family members, can see them is also important. Stories and memories can be easily forgotten if the tangible pieces that go with them kept are out-of-sight.

One of my projects is to photograph and document all the old stuff that is still kicking around here. That will includes making displays of small but bulky pieces is shadow boxes.

Whatever you choose to keep, make a record of what it is, where is came from, who it belonged to and what dates it was both produced and acquired. Without that information, your descendants and family will not have any knowledge of its importance or provenance.
1-Grandma Miller's irons, 2-Dad's home made chess set, 3-Dad's carving 1934 contest entry made with coping saw, 4-great-grandfather James Shepheard's pocket watch, 5-custom made stained glass window, 6-old family rocking chair, 7-Wayne's 70-year old toy cap guns, 8-Grandpa Miller's farm fork, 9-Wayne's safety matchbook collection

No comments:

Post a Comment