Creating a Family History Gallery

Now, that the spare room is relatively complete, it’s time to start my family history gallery. It’s harder than I thought. Deciding what to include has been the most overwhelming part. Fortunately, I have access to many family photos through digital copies shared by other family members and many originals in my own collection. I recognize that some may not have this luxury. But a family history gallery doesn’t have to be just family trees and ancestor photos. It can be so much more!

Here is a list of ideas that I am using as inspiration for what to put on my wall:

  • genealogy fan chart
  • ancestor Photos
  • photos or paintings of ancestral homes or lands
  • maps (there are so many amazing historic maps available online)
  • documents like marriage certificates, land patents, ship manifests…anything visually interesting
  • artifacts, like medals, jewelry, gloves, small items owned by the family
  • items that represent heritage (in my case things like Danish hearts, Swedish Dala horses etc.)
  • pressed flowers from heritage sites (this one is particularly exciting to me)
  • painted or printed sayings meaningful to the family
  • framed family recipes

I have been slowly gathering each item I want to put on my gallery wall. Before going on the wall, everything will be laid out on floor or bed to get an idea of how I want to look on the wall. One thing I have to decide is if there will be a few ‘extra’ pieces beyond family history items. I have a handful of garden/natural curiosity items I may add as well. I guess It will come down to space and what looks good!

Selecting what photos I want to use has been the hardest part, but I’ve started a folder on my desktop. Getting photos printed off these days is pretty inexpensive, so even if I don’t use them in my gallery, I won’t have spent a lot. I think it’s important to remember, that gallery images can change too! You don’t have to find an image and have it on the wall forever. I plan on using standard sized frames for photos I don’t plan to keep up long-term.

Above is the room, future gallery wall, and the beginning layout of the gallery. I will need to get some more frames, and get the pictures printed. I will be sure to post the gallery when it’s finished (someday)!

There are some really important things to remember when displaying and storing family photos, artifacts, and heirlooms. Working in the archives really showed me the importance of taking care of precious items. I may write a whole post on it, sharing some of my favorite resources.

Two of the best pieces of advice, if you can’t use a duplicate as a display:

  1. Keep items/photos/documents out direct sunlight and fluctuating temps
  2. Use archival or museum quality framing materials

I didn’t expect this to take me so long to put together becuase I have a lot of things too add, but it is really hard to choose what to include! It is a fun process though, I have gotten to revisit parts of the family tree I have’t looked at in a long time.

 

 

Our House: the “Spare” Room

I’ve been struggling for inspiration these last couple of weeks. I took a little break from genealogy, and garden planning. The weather went from -30 to 40 degrees in a couple of days. During the warmer weather it rained, but the ground is so frozen it’s just turned into a sloppy mess, which has now froze again. We’ve also had several inches of snow in there. I hate weather like this. Stay cold and snowy then ease into an early Spring. That’s what I wish for.

I missed my Sunday post, but while lacking inspiration for genealogy and gardening, I’ve spent a lot of time looking at our unfinished house. It’s getting there. Soon, I hope, I’ll post some pictures of how far we’ve come. For now, my February project is to tackle the “spare” room. It has a lot of duties, since this house isn’t huge, around 1100 sq ft.

When we moved it was a kids room with yellow ceilings, bright turquoise walls, and lilac closets. The walls and closets are now Mountain Gray, but the ceiling is still yellow. Here are photos of the room when we bought the house. It’s hard to see how yellow the ceiling is because the walls are so bright!

The room is some times clean and pleasant, but lack of organized storage in the house turns it into a mess quickly. Right now, I have Good Will bags, art, spring decor, horse stuff, shoes, hats….etc all over the place. This is the mess that happens whenever I need something out of the closets or change seasonal decor. The current state of things (a bit embarrassing):

But I’ve been dreaming and planning. I need a guest room, office, and storage space all in a 12×12 room. Here are some of my Pinterest inspirations:

I’m hoping to have a gallery wall of family history, with some other art as well. I think that will take some time laying out and planning. I may write a separate post on it to share about displaying family images and documents. We will also be putting a real bed in the room, after we get a new one for the master. The closets…well, I didn’t take a photo of them for a reason. Over all, I just want it to be a happier space for guests when they’re here, and for me when I want to paint or do genealogy. I’ll post as the room progresses!