Slide Scanning, Home Movie Digitization, and Other Techniques for Preserving Family History

It’s not uncommon for families to have boxes upon boxes of unsorted photos or old slides cluttering up their closets and crawl spaces. Over time, these valued keepsakes will wind up deteriorating and becoming all but useless. Instead of letting them sit around and rot, read on to find some tips for preserving old photos and movies and learn about Slide Scanning and other techniques for saving these cherished memories for future generations.

Preserve Old Home Movies and Slides

Home movies designed to be played in VCRs deteriorate at astoundingly quick rates, losing their color and eventually becoming unplayable. These old home movies can be digitized, allowing them to be preserved more effectively and even offering the opportunity to turn certain frames into still photos. Slides can also be digitized, allowing the images captured on them to be shared more easily between family members and preserved for future generations.

Don’t Pull Apart Old Photo Albums

Pulling photos out of the album for framing or giving to beloved family members decontextualizes the photographs that are left. Instead, have copies made of the best of the photos and preserve the albums using unbleached muslin. Old loose photos can also be stored individually in polypropylene sleeves.

Back Up Digital Data

Once images, videos, or documents have been digitized, they can be uploaded to a cloud service such as Google Drive or Dropbox. This will ensure that they will not be lost due to technological failures.

Store Hard Copies Carefully

Be sure to store hard copies of documents, photographs, and home movies in a safe place where they will not wind up becoming damage due to moisture or temperature fluctuations. Basements and attics may seem like obvious out of the way places to store boxes of family keepsakes, but in reality, these areas of the home are quite prone to water damage and should be avoided.

Enlist the Help of Younger Relatives

Older relatives often have amazing stories of family history and times passed that will be lost to future generations if they are not captured on tape and transcribed. Enlisting younger relatives to perform basic interviews can help them feel connected to their other family members and their family history. Some families even choose to transcribe these interviews into a text format for easier reference later on.