Old photos are a treasure trove of history. But they can also be a pain to deal with.
It is important to take care of your old photos, and keep them safe. You can do this by storing them in a container that is sealed, has non-acidic dividers, and is off the ground.
1. Create Memories
In addition to helping you remember your ancestors, old photos can help you understand how the world around them changed and how it may have influenced their lives. They can also put faces to the names of those you have been studying in your genealogy research and make them real people.
Rather than keeping your old photos in dusty stacks of paper or in musty shoe boxes, it’s a good idea to get them scanned or digitalized. This ensures that your family photos are preserved and aren’t vulnerable to water damage, fire, or other environmental threats.
It can also declutter your home, and it gives you the freedom to use old photos in other creative ways – such as making a slideshow, adding embellishments, or coloring black-and-white images. You can do this yourself or enlist a professional to do it for you.
2. Keep Them Safe
Many of us have old photos stuffed into shoe boxes in the closet or stored in a basement. These photos are like time capsules that can be a valuable source of historic and genealogical information. They also deserve to be protected from physical and environmental damage.
Storing old photos in the right environment can make a huge difference in their preservation level and longevity. It is important to avoid locations that experience significant temperature and humidity fluctuations, as these can accelerate deterioration.
It is also important to handle old photographs gently to prevent damage. Frequent handling can transfer natural oils and dirt onto the photo surface, which can cause stains or creases. It is also a good idea to use non-acidic dividers to keep photos from touching each other.
3. Turn Them Into Art
Even though digital photos are much more durable than printed ones, they can still be susceptible to environmental factors that damage them. This is especially true for old photographs, which can be ruined by humidity and insect infestations.
Instead of letting them fade away or get lost in a drawer, why not turn your old family photographs into artistic pieces? With the right tools and a little creativity, you can make your photos look like paintings.
All you need to do is cull your archive and find the most beautiful and quality images, then create a slideshow that’s worthy of your family history book. You can use all kinds of digital embellishments and gorgeous filters to decorate your vintage slideshow. You can even add lace strips and other memorabilia to give it a truly unique look.
4. Make Money From Them
Old photos are more than just paper – they’re also a peephole into the past, and it would be a shame to let them waste their short lives in dusty photo albums or in a glass frame. To make the best use of your family archive, cull it down to only those images that you absolutely adore and then get creative!
You can turn your old grayscale pictures into colorful prints and display them on your walls. You can also have them transferred onto fabric and then sew them into clothing pieces, or use them as decorations for mugs and thermos bottles, refrigerator magnets, photo blankets and more. You can even have them printed on tintypes, ferrotypes or melainotypes. This might be one of the more expensive ways to use old family photos but it’s certainly worth it in the long run.
5. Share Them
There are so many benefits to keeping old photos, from rekindling dormant memories to revealing clues about your family history. But there’s another way to enjoy them too: sharing them.
As you sort through photo albums and shoeboxes during this coronavirus pandemic, set aside paper memorabilia to get scanned and converted into digital files. Once digitized, your photos will be protected from damage caused by natural disasters or fires, and they’ll be easily accessible on computers, online cloud sites, and mobile devices.
Why not give your old black-and-white photos a new twist by getting them colorized? It’s a great way to surprise and delight friends and family. And they’ll make for a wonderful gift! This is also a great way to discover details that might have been lost in the black-and-white images.