Create a family museum

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How to build a beautiful gallery of your family’s most precious moments

A family museum sounds like a large project, but it’s not much more than a collection of some of the most precious moments that your family has experienced over the years. You might choose to display it in the living room so that guests can admire it, or you might like to build it in your bedroom so that it is the first and last thing you see every day.

But do remember, this wall is not just photographs. You should bring together paintings from children, postcards from family vacation destinations, souvenirs or keepsakes, and anything else that has sentimental value to the family.     

One thing to remember is that a family museum is not a weekend project. It will take time and a considerable amount of planning, but it’ll fast become the most talked-about part of your home.

Start off by selecting the wall you would like to use. Do you want to paint it in a statement colour? Would you like to wallpaper it so it stands apart?

Choosing the items you want to put up will be a long and pleasant task. Sift through old family albums. Look for progress reports, art work, invitation cards to important family events, prints, photographs. If you involve your family, this in itself can be a fun project. Remember to be selective though; you don’t want to clutter your museum.

Your museum should be a representation of the tastes, history and important events of your family. But do keep in mind that it should be an artful display. Don’t choose photographs or prints that are too small to see well. If possible, try to have a common thread running through. For example, use only black and white photographs with pops of colour coming from your keepsakes. This unifies the entire wall.

It’s also important to keep in mind that all these items will be different shapes and sizes. Combining them can create a very eye-catching gallery, but you would need to create balance for it to have visual harmony. You can start off by planning your bigger pieces for the centre, and arranging the rest around them.

Now comes the frames and display choices. Some people like the consistency that similar frames bring to an assortment of photographs. Some people like to mix frame types and colours for an eclectic display. Either way, do opt for space breakers – completely different objects that provide a break for the eye and yet tie the look together. Consider using name boards from your first home, old license plates, or even the wooden walking stick used by Grandma!

And now, stop and breathe. Take a step back and consider your collection of frames and items for the gallery. It is tempting to start putting them up immediately. But this could make or break your project. This is not the same as putting up a few frames. With multiple objects in different shapes, you might find yourself having to move items around or change your plans, and ending up with extra holes in the wall.

Instead, you could cut out the shapes of each frame or object from paper, and tack it to the wall. With masking tape, you won’t even damage the wall. Now it’s easy to move them around and see exactly how your museum will look when done.

And now it’s time to put your nails in and hang up your museum pieces. A little careful planning and sorting will help create a beautiful slice of family history that will bring joy for years to come.


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