Displaying Your Heritage

By Fern Glazer Premium

Rather than keep your family’s memories packed away, display your favorite keepsakes for everyone to enjoy. But before you hang that old map or your great-grandparents wedding photo, protect them items from the damaging sunlight and uneven temperatures they’ll be exposed to.

  • When framing original materials, do as museums do: Make sure anything touching your document—from the mounting board to the backing—is acid-free and lignin-free. (Archival framing materials are available from suppliers such as Archival Methods, Gaylord Brothers and University Products.)
  • To protect the item from damaging sunlight, use ultraviolet-resistant glass or acrylic.
  • Stretch a paper dust cover across the back of the frame to prevent dust particles and insects from infiltrating it.
  • When you’re ready to show off your family history, hang the frame in a stable environment—avoid bathrooms, the kitchen, and walls above heat sources such as a radiators.

Since only experts would be able to discern a copy from the real McCoy, another, less-involved option is to scan the original document and print out a high-quality copy for display.

Get our expert guide to preserving 10 types of family heirlooms from Family Tree Shop.