By making a concerted effort to preserve our heritage, we create a vital link to our cultural, educational, aesthetic, inspirational and economical legacies – all of the things that quite literally make us who we are. -Steve Berry
Family museums can include a variety of heirlooms.
Saving Your Timeless Family Heritage
Today, people are living longer than they did a generation ago. The family landscape has changed dramatically as well. Yet, no matter how long we live, how often we change addresses, the one thing that will always exist is your family’s heritage; that which is passed from one generation to the next that tells about a way of life, traditions and culture.
Old family portraits make a wonderful display in family museums.
Why Create a Family Museum
You save things. You store them thinking maybe one day it will get used again. However, that day does not come and the things are still in the box. What do you do? Throw them away? No! Give them away? No! Keep them? Yes! And here is why: Something possessed you to keep them in the first place, and that something is memories which are important. Good, bad, happy sad, or even funny. That is why a family should have a museum – to preserve those memories. To remember, pay respect to, learn from, and pass onto the next generation. After all, history is his and her stories.
From one generation to the next, family history gets lost. Those missing things are cause for regret. And now with de-cluttering and downsizing, more than ever memories are being lost. So stop, look and listen to those memories! Now is the time, today not tomorrow, to start creating your Family Museum.
Where to Build Your Family Museum
There are many places and methods of where and how-to display your family heirlooms. Whether your museum is in a bookcase, cabinet, on a shelf, in a shadow box (mini-museum), displayed under the glass top of a coffee table, or in a closet-turned-museum, your precious items inherited or obtained through family, friends, and relatives, are now priceless items of significance that can safely be exhibited and stored.
How to create Your Family Museum
There are many ways of preserving your history: storytelling (oral/recorded), photography (photo-books/scrapbooks/yearbooks), culinary traditions (cookbooks/family recipes), ancestral records (diaries/bibles/letters), genealogy studies (Ancestry.com), and Family Trees.
In addition to these processes of recalling that history, a Family Museum provides a place where the tangible items – a baby doll, train set, baseball bat, diplomas, trophies, baby blanket, and china tea cup – can be kept safe while they bring a memory to life. As you hold it in your hand, take in its scent and feeling, you step back in time to that place, recall that person, and embrace that memory.
So, how do you go about creating this museum? One step at a time. First: Finding the room and space is the challenge, however, take a moment and walk through each room and you will find, perhaps, several areas for your family museum.
Second: What should you keep? A few questions and the answers that will help you be your own curator.
Third: From artifacts, collections, to the written word, here is advice and suggestions that many curators follow.
Welcome All to Your Family Museum
Your museum will not only protect and sustain your personal history; it will give everyone infinite pleasures through sharing and maintaining your heritage. Start going through those boxes. Peel away the sheets of newspaper, tissue paper and the layers of time, and bring forth the memories. Display them. Be proud of them. Enjoy them!
About Elizabeth Göesel
As an art dealer and proprietor of an art gallery, museum docent, published author on 18th Century Colonial American history, collector, genealogist and memorialist, I appreciate the efforts of conservationists, preservationists, archaeologists, even treasure hunters in their quest to preserve, maintain and display worldly as well as unassuming things. Then one day, I decided to do the same. I stopped throwing away my memories and saved my family heritage by creating a Family Museum. Find me on Facebook, my brand new Twitter account, and my blog.