A Treasures Album is for photos of family heirlooms and treasured items that are too bulky to put in a scrapbook. It also includes the history of the items so your descendants will understand their significance. See also Heritage Albums.

Poem for a Treasures Album

Family treasures new and old,
They all have memories to be told.
The hidden stories of yesteryear,
Of trinkets that we hold so dear.

Recorded now with special care,
Are all the heirlooms that we share.
Cherished treasures of the past,
Now are memories that will last.

Songs about Treasure

Songs about Keepsakes and Souvenirs

Treasures Album

If we only had a short time to save material possessions from our home in the event of a disaster many of us would save our photo albums first. After that it is likely we would select items that had great sentimental value but maybe no monetary value. It is the memories behind an item that make it important instead of the item itself. However, many of us have not recorded the info about these types of items anywhere.

More than once I have had the sad task of sorting through a relative's property after their death. I have found items that were stored in a way (carefully wrapped and in a safe place) that I knew they must be important. Possibly they were owned by a special ancestor or had another significant meaning. However, if no one knows the story behind the item they became just one more thing to sell at an estate sale or donate to Goodwill.

If you don't want the same fate for your treasures, take time to record the information. How you make the album will depend on the number and type of items you have, the number of children you have and how the items will likely be distributed someday. The album can be fancy or plain. It might be made very special with matting, borders, etc. or just be photos and journaling about the items.

A small album is a good choice if you only have a few items.

You may want to group the items on the pages by subject. If the items are divided someday the people who get various things can color copy the pages containing the items they get. Another option is to use portrait sleeves. Put single items (or sets of items that will likely stay together) on card stock and put them in the sleeves back to back. That way the album can be easily dismantled and reassembled into smaller albums. Some pages could be color copied if someone wanted a picture of family heirlooms even if they did not get possession of them.

Another idea is to use photo mounting sleeves for everything instead of pages with protectors or portrait sleeves. For each "treasure" mount the photo on paper. The size of the paper will depend on the size of photo and the amount of journaling about the item. For many items 4" x 6" or 5" x 7" will work but a few items may need 8" x 10". Arrange the items on the pages however you want by adhering the sleeves to the scrapbook pages. They can easily be removed or switched around.

Once you start your treasure album you will be surprised at how many treasures you have and how much fun the album is to make.


1. Go on a treasure hunt through your house. Look in closets, on shelves, in drawers, in the basement, in the garage, etc. Any item you see that brings back a memory of a person or past event is a potential treasure. Even recent items might be a treasure to others someday, so don't overlook them. Don't forget recipes, letters, etc. As you go gather up the items or make a list of them. Also start making notes about the things as you see them. That will give you an idea of the amount of space you will need for journaling about each item. If you find things you can't remember some of the details about, try to find a relative who remembers.

2. Once you have your list or items together take photos of them. It helps to have a tri-pod and zoom lens but it is not necessary. Most digital cameras have a special setting for close-ups of small objects. Many items show up best on a contrasting solid-color background. Dark blue or light tan work better than solid black or white but use what you have (a piece of fabric, table cloth, sheet, etc.). On some things you may want photos taken from different angles. On other things you can have three or four items in the photo and then crop them apart for the album. If you don't have time to do this project all at once, just keep your list handy and mark things off as you take photos of them.

3. Crop the photos and mount them on the album pages or the paper. You can also include photos of the original owner of the item or the item in another house. There is an oak dining table in my family that has passed through four generations. I have photos of the table in the houses of two of the previous owners. You can leave room on the page for the next person to add a photo or more journaling about the item.

4. Journal about the item. Do this on scrap paper first since memories often come back in bits and pieces and not chronological order. Include who, what, when, where and why. Use specific dates and names as much as possible. If you don't remember every detail of a family story and there is no one else to ask just do the best you can. Be sure to mention that the details are a little fuzzy so people will know. Explain why the item is important to you. You might have someone else read over the journaling before you put it down in ink. Sometimes things are so obvious to you that you fail to journal adequately. You might refer to "Grandma" or "the old home place" and things like that. You know exactly which grandmother and whose old home place you are referring to but other people might not. If a friend can understand the value of the item from the photo and your journaling then you will be sure that your great-great-grandchildren will understand it, too.

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