Creative Ways to sve and share your family history. In this issue: storing military uniforms, digitizing memories and a new keepsake family history book.
Safe Keeping: Military Uniforms
Military uniforms are made tough and see a lot of action, which often leaves them worse for wear. But preserving your ancestor’s dress blues, red coats or camo greens doesn’t have to be a battle. Follow these marching orders, and you’ll be able to save the uniforms for future generations to honor.
The most important guideline: Protect your heirloom textiles from sunlight, moisture and insects. Don’t keep the clothes in the attic or basement—the temperature extremes and risk of water damage are too dangerous.
It’s best not to attempt to clean vintage duds yourself. Find a dry cleaner who specializes in antique clothing, or consult a conservator. (Find tips for tracking down an expert online
.) If the uniform is modern, clean it as its care instructions dictate, and then store the uniform as carefully as you would a vintage one.
It’s OK to keep the suit in a closet on a padded hanger for the short term. You can pad a hanger with polyester batting and wrap it in unbleached, washed muslin to create a custom fit. But for the long term, you’ll want to store the uniform horizontally.
Flat garment boxes are available from any of the suppliers listed above right. (Never store heirloom textiles in plastic bags.) Wrap individual pieces with acid-free tissue paper, and be sure to pad folds with tissue paper, too, to prevent creasing. Store hats, gloves and shoes in archival boxes with acid-free tissue padding to help the items keep their shape.
These archival suppliers offer kits and boxes for textile preservation. Just search on textile when you arrive at the main page to find the goods.
If you’re just getting started preserving your family history, using forms can help you record your memories. Allison Stacy and Diane Haddad, editors of Family Tree Magazine
, have put together the ultimate family keepsake book—Family Tree Legacies
(Family Tree Books). This interactive album has space for you to record traditions, heirlooms, documents, dates and more—and the binder accommodates extra pages you can print from the included CD. Family Tree Legacies is available this fall from ShopFamilyTree.com
or by calling (800) 258-0929.
At a loss for what to do with all the artifacts and heirlooms your family’s created over the years? Let Leave A Legacy
have a go at it—this full-service “memory station” creates slick presentations from your photos, audio and video.
You can turn that stack of old photos into a digital slide show, transfer your old Super 8 film to DVD or even create goodies for a special event such as a wedding or reunion. The Fort Collins, Colo., family business will work with whatever media you throw at them; visit the Web site to get a quote for your dream project. The company’s tagline, after all, is “You live your life, we’ll chronicle it creatively.”
From the November 2009 Family Tree Magazine