Sunday, December 21, 2008

Project for a Snowy Day

Like every other state in the nation, this weekend Minnesota was pommeled with snow. 6" or so when it was all said and done. Rather than deal with the nightmare that is a Minneapolis Snow Emergency, I parked my car in my garage (after some rearranging) and looked for a project inside to keep me busy.

During the early 1920's my grandfather went down to Mexico, Honduras and Cuba for a number of years to work on installing their electrical infrastructure. While down there, he mailed home photos. Lots of them.

These photos are currently in a pile, on a table in my living room. They are in boxes and photo albums that are falling apart. At some point, someone took some of the photos and glued them onto both sides of pages in photo albums. At some later date, someone thought better of that and tried to peel some of them off. Surprisingly, though, the photos are in really good condition. There are maybe a hundred or so of them. Some labeled; most not.

While this project is not strictly "house" is nice to see how electricity did actually make it to our houses....and the work someone had to put in to make that happen.

My job, is to take these photos....arrange them, try to determine the location, and get them into new (acid free) albums that can be enjoyed and will prevent any further damage. I know the old album paper is not acid free, but the photos are so tightly attached, that I am cutting down the background and then sliding them into plastic sleeves. I know about soaking old paper in distilled water....and that special (oh-so-expensive) spray that neutralizes paper, but I am afraid to use them on these old photos.

I am hoping that my readers include some history buffs and/or scrapbookers with tips, ideas, etc. I am scanning some of the more interesting photos (and will post some in a day or so)....and most of the duplicates will remain stored in a box.


Anonymous said...

You're lucky that you have those photos! I don't even have any from my childhood.

Garden Monkey said...

I'm currently cataloging a few photo collections (at home and at work). I would suggest finding some acid free boxes, acid free index cards and some acid free dividers, scanning in a few (or all of them) scrapbooking print outs of the scans and keeping the others in a dry, draft free place (do our old houses actually have this fables 'dry draft free' place?)

I know there is a lot of drive to put photos back into a scrapbook, but they will last longer (and curl less) if you keep them in the boxes.

There is also a GREAT book from the Smithsonian that I use as a quick reference. 'Saving Stuff: How to Care for and Preserve Your Collectibles, Heirlooms, and Other Prized Possessions' by Don Williams and Louisa Jagger. GREAT advice, and actually not a bad read if you are into it.

Good luck, it looks fantastically interesting!!

Chris said...

6" of snow...I wish! Since last Wednesday, we've gotten around 30" of snow, no joke! It's a complete disaster! I'm beginning to go a little nuts...hopefully I can find a cool project to keep myself occupied! Take care, and Merry

StuccoHouse said...

Anonymous -I have photos coming out of my ears.

Garden Monkey - Thank you. Exactly the direction I needed. I ordered that book on Amazon this morning ($12) is SO right up my alley, you don't even know. Will post photos when I get them a bit organized & scanned.

Chris - We've probably got around 8-10" total...which is very low for us. We have been watching the news of folks out West & East getting hit hard. Of course, they love to show film on the news here of states receiving snow that never get it.....and Minnesotans get a good snotty chuckle watching cars crashing.

Anonymous said...

I definately agree with Garden Monkey on what to do with the photos. Another scrapper tip to get the original photos from the book is to use dental floss and oh-so-slowly try to get them out. It will take time but should do the trick. If you can, handle the pictures with white gloves to minimize the moisture from your hands. The best thing is to scan the oringals and keep those safe and dry, and put the scanned ones in the scrapbook.
How lucky for you to have these.
Oh, also, in your scrapbook, do as much journalling as possible. There are heritage books out there, along with the papers, embellishments, all depends on how nuts you want to get with the scrapping of these photos. Good luck! Hope this helps!

Nadja and Sean said...

You could also scan the photos and create a book on one of the photobook websites. I like I've made a couple of nice books there. It's very easy to do, and then you have a great keepsake (that you can duplicate if needed!) The scanning would take the longest... but these seem like such great photos! Good luck!

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