Thursday, June 16, 2016

Collecting vs. Saving: What Do You Plan to Do with Your Old Family Heirlooms?

What do you do when your home has become the designated family museum and you start looking to the future wondering what will become of these treasured heirlooms?

As Founder and Curator of The Family Museum and its Blog post, I have been immersed in family heirlooms for as long as I can remember. Since childhood, there has always been an artifact in my family’s home that was the property of another family member and sometimes friends. From Nana’s Nippon vase and dining room dishes, furniture and miscellaneous items like her meat grinder, these things were important to the family. As time went on, my parents made purchases for their house that I inherited; a piano, artworks, all of Nana’s things, and more.
After I was married, my husband and I started to build our own nest egg; furniture, dishes, artwork, etc. Then the moves came, from Illinois to Florida to Virginia. With each relocation, our stuff followed us and new things were added to the household. Then sadly, family members began to pass away, and more things came our way. Uncle Mike’s roll-top desk and highboy dresser, my father’s tools, Nana’s dining room
furniture, and many things from my husband’s parents after they passed away. My family is fortunate to have a commodious home where all of this and more fit in with our collections. But now, enough is enough! There is not one iota of space for anything more!
So after years of schlepping around boxes from attic, basement and garage, something had to be done with all of those little things that were saved along the way. So I created our Family Museum
Once that was done (but it will never be finished because we keep adding keepsakes) I began my blog, How to Create a Family Museum, writing about how others can and should create theirs.
As I wrote about the things in the museum, subject matter grew and I started to write about the family heirlooms and antiques that we lived with every day. And then it hit me; we live in a museum! Every room in our house has something from someone, passed onto my family. This was very enlightening. Each piece had a history & a story to tell. So I told many of them on my blog to the best of my ability, each narrative chronicled the life of the person who owned the object. Now has I walk through the rooms that have on display my family’s history, I am never alone; their memories are always with me.
As for wondering about what will become of your treasured heirlooms? Like mine, hopefully they will stay with the family, get passed down to the next generation, securing their place in your family history. So don’t be too quick to dispose of something old to only be replaced with something new that has no family history at all. Create that Family Museum. Live with your heirlooms, use them; keep the memories alive. After all, "A concerted effort to preserve our heritage is a vital link to our cultural, educational, aesthetic, inspirational and economic legacies - all of the things that quite literally make us who we are." Steve Berry     

I hope this series of blog posts on Collecting vs. Saving, has given you some answers, some inspiration, and the courage to create your Family Museum. Watch for more posts on what is in our Family Museum. And this summer I am turning my blog into a book. I will keep you posted on its progress. And don’t forget, collectors and savers are happy people. So have fun while you create your Family Museum. Make it a family affair!

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