Every time I was asked to give a presentation on genealogy, I would go through my house and box up tons of items for display. I realized I really did have a lot of heirlooms and memorabilia and knick knacks from ancestors. But none of it was readily available or displayed for the family to see. I decided to do something about that. Although my home is quite small by today’s standards, I managed to turn the smallest room into an “archive room” or as my granddaughters called it, “the museum.” In order to do that, I had to kick the grandkids out of their cute playroom. I know, cruel Grandma, but it was time for them to move downstairs anyway where they would have more room for cartwheels and “Just Dance.”
STEP ONE: Gather up everything that belonged to an ancestor. By my definition, this was anyone older than my generation, dead or alive! My collection ended up being everything from books to knick-knacks to collectibles to linens to tools to furniture. These were not things of great monetary value, but were items of irreplaceable family value. Each knick knack told a story. And I was amazed at how much stuff I had! I wasn’t sure that little room would hold it all, but I was determined.
My mom’s first typewriter, eggbeater from the 40’s, patterns she used to make my clothes in the 40’s, the set of books she kept for my grandfather’s business, plaques that hung on our kitchen wall in the 50’s, Belgian lace she made later in her life.
My grandfather’s glasses, hat, rodeo shirt, Shetland pony trophies, buggy whip, business documents.
Precious items from my two grandmothers – crocheted pot holders, hats, bags, lemon juicer, recipe file, kerosene lamp, button box, bottle opener, bank book, ledger, book of fairy tales.
Mom’s first rocking chair and end table, great-grandfather’s trunk, my little red rocking chair (I’m not my own ancestor, but I couldn’t resist having it recovered for display).
Original Bingo and Cootie games, child’s sewing machine and iron, vintage electric line insulators.
Everything from soup to nuts! I think you would be surprised at what you could find in your house that was handed down from grandparents. The next step was organizing all of the memorabilia and displaying it in my teeny tiny room. Watch for Installment 2 to see if I was able to do it!!!