Memory preservation is a way of telling and saving our stories, and leaving our marks in the world – with our family, friends, even the people at our places of work and in our social lives. What and how we preserve our stories become placeholders in time, weaving and bridging together moments of our lives with the the lives of others. These moments can even become part of the larger history of our community and even world history. They can even become part of a larger sociological and archaeological history. Can you imagine one of your photos or stories being unearthed generations from now? What would the person who discovered this ‘artifact’ be able to learn from these? What would they want to know about you, your life or the microcosm and macrocosm of the larger community life?
Memory preservation is about remembering, documenting and putting into form the people and events that have occurred in your life. It provides the means by which to tell and share life stories, and can be done in a variety of ways:
- Autobiographical writing (life story writing, life story books, scrapbooks/journals)
- Photo preservation (scrapbooks memory books, photo albums, digitized photos, memory calendars, and quilts)
- Heirloom and letter preservation
- Oral histories
- Video biographies
When we think of the importance of memory preservation, we think about how we’d like to be remembered and about the legacy we wish to leave behind.
Many people who write life stories like to write about the places they’ve been, the people they’ve met and the things that have happened to them…funny, sad and everything in between. They like to write about family, hoping their children will know how much they’re thought about and loved, and how important they are in their parent’s lives. Grandparents often write life stores to remember the events in their lives and leave a legacy for their children and grandchildren.
People often want to contribute to their larger world in this lifetime and for the next. Life stories can give context to one’s life. The can provide details not previously known. And maybe, just maybe, a life story, even a thread of one can send a reader/viewer on a search for more information, for greater pieces of your life or perhaps an entire generation or time in history. A personal story or photo can be interesting enough to search out greater pieces of your life and try to connect a photo to a story… a reunion of sorts. Personal story preservation can even create reunions between people, known and unknown.
Memory preservation is about the past, present, and future. Our lives are important, our individual stories unique. Consider how you might want to preserve your stories. It’s never too late to start.