4 Unique Ways to Preserve Family MemoriesNovember 13, 2022
Whether family memories include holiday gatherings, grand family events like weddings and births, or stories told around the dining room table, preserving those memories so they aren’t forgotten is paramount.
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Getting Started with Preserving Family Memories
According to Doretha Williams, director of the Center for the Digitization and Curation of African American History, the first step in preserving family memories is to do it now! Procrastination is an enemy of preservation.
Be prepared emotionally and mentally; going through decades’ worth of memories in documents, photos, and even videos can be draining. Allow yourself time to go through everything at a comfortable pace because it can be an emotional journey.
Identifying the people in every photo and video is vital, but documenting things like locations and important dates is often crucial. Anything that can help bring a photo, story, or video to life for future generations is important.
Interview the oldest people in your family and focus on writing down family stories that haven’t captured on film, video, or paper. Now is the time to reach out and record their memories before it’s too late.
Once you have all kinds of material you’ve gathered, from photos and old videos in various formats to stories written down, it’s time to preserve and restore it as an archivist would.
Restore What You Can and Use Archival Storage Practices
While some people know how to use software like Adobe Photoshop to restore photos digitally, most people don’t have that knowledge. An outstanding and trendy option for restoration and preservation is calling on professional document restoration services. These services can restore papers, photos, journals, documents, and more that may have been damaged at some point or worn over time back to their original condition (and sometimes, better than).
Any time you store photos, papers, and documents, you must ensure that only boxes, folders, and acid-free containers are used. There are outstanding suggestions from the Library of Congress about properly handling and storing all kinds of items, from newspapers and papers to books, scrapbooks, and photographs.
4 Unique Ways to Preserve Family Memories and Keep Traditions Alive
Following are the best ways to preserve family memories to ensure that they last for many generations into the future:
People have come up with fun, sentimental, and beautiful ways to preserve family memories. Some of these include:
- Recording baby milestones on a special baby calendar
- Creating a journal of holiday gatherings
- Scrapbooking with photos and mementos
- Recording audio accounts of family stories and interviews
- Turning clothing into quilts and keepsakes
- Creating family fingerprints and handprints
Many people enjoy making collages of photos and framing them, making home movies, recording family skits on video, and even making time capsules for future family members to open many years from now.
2.Make Digital Copies
Digitizing film, audio recordings, photos, and documents is one of the best ways to preserve these items. It’s easy to do and provides a wide array of storage options. You can use your smartphone, an all-in-one printer, or a dedicated scanner to get the job done. Some companies and services can digitize film and VHS videos for you. Then, save those copies to thumb drives and cloud storage. Make sure that you keep the originals!
3.Make It a Family Affair
One of the best ways to preserve family memories is to share them and make sure others have access to those memories. Consider starting a holiday tradition of going over family photos, videos, and memories at get-togethers. Your work can strengthen family connections and serve as artifacts that live on after you’ve gone.
4.Share with Your Community
It may surprise you that many organizations, such as historical societies and museums, may be interested in your family memories even if no one in the family is famous. This is because preservationists and archivists use items like family albums, journals, and photos to capture details from different places and times.
No matter how you choose to retain your family memories, do it now before something happens to them and before the items, you do have to deteriorate with time. Don’t be shy about enlisting help from other family members, and be proud of your work!