Every home has family treasures. Some are either on display while others are safely tucked away in various hidden places in the home.
Anyone who has inherited their great-great grandmother’s wedding ring or an ancestor’s exclusive recipe, or a picture of a relative going off to war might agree with the fact how sentimental these family treasures can be.
These heirlooms help in binding different generations in their own unique way whilst keeping the family history alive for years.
But the scary part is that sometimes these meaningful items might not be able to safely travel from one generation to another. This is especially true for papers, clothes, and even jewelry pieces.
So, what’s the solution?
Well, if you’ve just inherited your family treasure, you can learn how to preserve them in the best way possible. This way, you can transfer your family legacy to your future generations safely.
That’s why here we have a list of preserving options that can help in keeping your heirlooms safe and secured for the years to come. Keep reading to know more about them.
- Start with your photographs
Photographs are one of the most vulnerable items in family treasures. This is especially true for the ones that are clicked and printed using ancient technology.
That’s why it would be a smart move to start your preservation process by collecting all the photographs you have in your place. From drawers to albums, check for them everywhere.
After you are done with that, here are some steps that can help you keep your photographs safe.
- Wash your hands before handling them, and try to hold each one by the edges.
- Start labeling the pictures using soft handwriting so that you don’t damage the picture. Write everything from who is in the picture and when and where it was taken.
- You can also use a scanner and your computer to keep a digital copy of all the pictures.
- Once you are done with that, make several copies of the picture. You can use your cloud account or a flash drive for it.
- You can also take multiple printouts of the picture, just to be on the safer side.
- Keep these pictures away from humid or damp places.
Lastly, if you plan to hang your pictures, it would be best to go for printouts instead of originals.
However, if you wish to display the original portraits, then make sure you use lower intensity lights to preserve their charm. This is because light can deteriorate those portraits over time.
You can also go for ultraviolet filtering or acrylic glass to preserve all those original portraits for the years to come.
- Handle documents and letters with care
You should know that documents and letters have a higher chance of getting destroyed as you might need to take them out from time to time. In fact, you might also hand them over to someone outside your family for various reasons.
In such cases, it would be best to request them to take care of those precious pieces of paper.
In fact, you can also ask them to wear latex gloves if those papers are particularly old. It will help in preventing the potential damage.
Just like your pictures, it would be a good idea to scan all your documents such as recipes, marriage certificates, or letters from someone who went to the war. Don’t forget to make multiple copies of them.
Also, make sure you store such important pieces of paper in appropriate places and boxes.
Suppose you want to keep those important recipes at your arm’s length so that you can use them anytime you want. In that case, you might end up damaging or, worse, losing those precious pieces of paper.
To avoid the hassle, you can use a recipe binder. According to the experts at Heart & Berry, it is a great way to save your collection and pass it down to future generations.
You can also use acid-free paper to store newspaper clippings and articles to preserve them for a long time.
- Precious medals and coins need constant care
It is needless to say that medals, coins, and jewelry pieces are also a huge part of family treasures. They hold extreme sentimental value and come with great stories.
But you need to learn how to preserve those precious metals so that your future generations can be kept in sync with your family history.
First of all, you should know that every metal, such as gold, silver, bronze, and copper is different. This means that they require a unique caring method. Such artifacts should be handled with the utmost care. Otherwise, you might end up ruining their charm.
Here we have listed preservation methods for all your artifacts so that you can pass them to your future generations in the best possible way.
- Medals: One of the best ways to keep those medals safe is by storing them in acid-free boxes. You can also apply three coats of polyurethane resin and store them in wooden boxes after they are fully dry.
You would also need to keep in mind that polishing medals can take away their charm and can even damage them. Consider using acetone to degrease those precious medals.
- Coins: Experts recommend storing such heirlooms within polyester sleeves or polythene bags. You can also use acrylic boxes or polyester to preserve them. If you constantly take them out to show off the collection, it would be best to use cotton gloves to prevent them from getting damaged.
And if you are planning to clean them, the safer option would be to use warm water, mild soap, and a children’s toothbrush. Once you are done with the cleaning part, rinse the coins in distilled water and soak them in alcohol.
Silver artifacts and Jewelry pieces: Handling silver artifacts and jewelry pieces might seem challenging at first, but it’s not as tricky as they seem.
The only thing you need to keep in mind while cleaning them is to wear cotton gloves. This will prevent the transfer of fingerprints or oil to those precious heirlooms.
In the end,
Preserving family heirlooms and passing them to future generations safely is something that you are held responsible for. And not that you’ve learned how to preserve them; make sure you pass on the information to the upcoming generations. That could also become the start of a new family heirloom.