Saturday, August 11, 2012

Postcards from the past

Two years ago, I inherited my great-grandmother's 100+ year old postcard collection.  Pretty neat, huh?  I love history and these postcards have a physical connection to my family's past so I feel like they are real treasures.

When I first brought them back home from an old metal trunk that had been living in a dark shed in Western Australia, I had plans to put them up in frames in my lounge.  But then the historian in me began to agonise over whether it was the right thing to do.  Would the light ruin them?  Shouldn't I just keep them safe in an archival box for future generations?  I chewed over the idea for a couple of years.

In the end, I decided I could preserve them better in a box in the top of my wardrobe, but it was just as likely that some upstart grandchild of mine would come in after I was gone and chuck the box in a skip and send it away to landfill.  I figured the postcards had a better chance of being valued if they'd hung on 'Grandma's' wall for a decade or two.  I have however chosen archival quality mounting paper and frames and scanned the back and front of each postcard before framing so that I at least have a digital copy if the worst comes to the worst.  They are on a wall that doesn't get direct sunlight.  I know there will still be some deterioration over time, but there's no joy from leaving them in a box either.

So here they are, all 83 of them.  Lovingly mounted with acid-free photo corners so there's no gluing involved.  I'm very pleased with the final result.  The photo doesn't do it justice because the real treat is when you get up close and see the wonderful snapshots from days gone by and the beautiful pen and ink handwriting.  One of my favourites among the postcards is Flinders Street station in Melbourne with a the usual peak-hour congestion ...only the traffic is predominantly horse and cart.

So do you think I've done the right thing or should I have cared for them properly in a hermetically-sealed box?  And what about you - do you have anything special from your family's past  on your walls?  Or languishing in a box waiting  to come out and be enjoyed?  Oh, and if anyone has some really brilliant ideas on how to do a display of tea cups that wouldn't need frequent dusting, do tell!


Anonymous said...

They are wonderful! You definitely did the right thing - now your whole family can enjoy them and have a glimpse into the past! Teacups - mine are in a glass cabinet so rarely need dusting and I can get them out and use them! J

Deb said...

So are they in a buffet type of cabinet or one that you plan to wall mount? I'd like them at eye-height on the wall somehow. Maybe a wall-mounted cabinet with glass doors and lighting inside. I don't ask for much! :) Just haven't figured out whether it would look like visual clutter. But I've got time to figure it out! I haven't even inherited the tea cup collection yet!!!

Anonymous said...

I've had them in a wooden display cabinet (gorgeous thing of my grandmother's - used to be in my lounge room in PtC) but I have been eyeing off those square cabinets in ikea to mount on the wall as an alternative... J

Karen said...

The tea cups that I inherited from my Grandma are in a buffet type cabinet with frosty glass doors so you can't see them :( But I do pull them out and use them when I feel like being a little bit fancy for afternoon tea...
LOVE the postcards. I think that the way you've mounted them looks amazing. And I think you're right, hopefully more chance of them being kept in the future if you present them beautifully like that.