Heritage Photos – How Best To Deal With Them

Recently I was asked for some help on organizing and scrapbooking some very old memorabilia, as well as photos, that a woman had inherited from her family. Most of this dated back to WWII and although scrapbooking isn’t any different for those time periods, the delicacy of the photos as well as the memorabilia does pose special challenges.

She found herself overwhelmed by all she had in her possession and being unsure as to what should be included and as safely as possible. I was also asked about 3 dimensional scrapbooking for the small pins, medals and name cards that she has in her possession. I took her problem to a group of scrapbookers I am close to and we brainstormed some ideas to help.

When scrapbooking anything that can be scanned and color copied, we all unanimously agreed this is the best way.

Do not include 3 dimensional (3D) items in your scrapbooks. For several reasons. Sometimes they can rub up against the photos and do massive damage. They are bulky causing the albums to not close completely, and allowing dirt and dust an easier entrance into your albums.

Instead, color copy them. Either take them to a copy center and ask them to do it or use your scanner and printer to do it at home. This also allows you the ability to shrink the items so you can fit more on a layout or enlarge the item to catch greater detail.

The pictures are a whole different subject. If you have so many photographs that you don’t see how it would be possible to scrapbook them, purchase pocket albums. The kind where you just slip the photos into the pocket and voila. Typically, these have journal blocks below or next to the photo so you can write something if you choose.

However, if you really want to scrapbook them, my advice is – do so cautiously.

Choose colors that are neutral – blacks, whites, grays and browns are appropriate for these time periods. Less is always best when scrapbooking older photos. Try not to use any of the new modern embellishments, only to preserve that time period.
If you do choose to use something to embellish with, I recommend using metals and very neutral ribbons as the only embellishments. Charms are a great addition. Lace can be added as well as old fashioned buttons.

If you are swimming in photographs, I recommend purchasing several albums and trying to sort the photos perhaps by subject, even or even a time period. For instance maybe ten years in one album, and ten in the next. Some albums come with black pages, some come with white. If you can find some with black papers, these would be better because the older black and white photos look best on a darker color. Use off whites to accent if you’d like, though I recommend taupes, tans, and grays.

I would try to avoid pages that take more than 10 minutes to complete. If you scrapbook 12×12 size, which I recommend for lots of photos, then place four photos on one piece of cardstock in the traditional fashion. If you do this with all the photos, you can come back later to add embellishments. Get the journaling on there before you worry about decorating the pages.

I would forget the titles, and maybe include the other information. Try to include as much as you can. Names, dates and perhaps location. If you know when or why the photo was taken, then include that too.

Scrapbooking heritage photos is a lot of fun. It’s neat to know you are preserving past generations, for your future generations.

Do you have any other tips for heritage photos?

Nicole Humphrey writes articles for the Scrapbooking Blog and for the Frugal Blog. She also guest blogs on a variety of topics. You can read more of her articles by clicking here.

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