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What Should You Do with Old Scrapbooks?

May 17, 2023

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Scrapbooking is more than a hobby. It’s a time-consuming, big-hearted passion and nearly infinite outlet for creativity. These works of art visualize people’s stories. 

The thing is, scrapbooks, just like photo albums, also take up space and collect dust. They feature people no longer in our lives. They can raise more questions than answers with the items they feature. And then, the physical reality – they fall apart. Read on for more on scrapbooking dilemmas and possible solutions.

Scrapbooking Dilemmas

They decay. The glue and tape decay and quite often that very same glue and tape damages permanently whatever it was holding in place. And then these damaged items slip out of place, and you may never again be very sure what went where, particularly if it’s not your scrapbook to begin with.

They are singular, unique. That means whether moving boxes get lost, your home has a fire or flood, or you simply lose track of them, they are easy to lose and irreplaceable. You can’t exactly go online and order another copy! (By the way, that can hold true for photobooks you create, too! Co-founder Ellen Goodwin was frustrated to discover she couldn’t reorder hers from a particular popular online photobook site because the specific formats are no longer supported. So sad.)

They are singular, unique. (Yes, we repeated that on purpose!) You can’t share a scrapbook. One person is the keeper. Who’s it going to be? You could offer visitation rights, we suppose. Or take turns? Just keep in mind that it is not the ownership of the physical scrapbook that matters but the connection it offers to the memories captured within.

They tend to be highly visual, with little story. Scrapbooks are often designed to have the stories told/shared by the person who created it as you page through it together. At best you typically get a description of only a line or two. The rest is just a visual walk through some aspect of a person’s life. So then if you inherit a scrapbook, so much history is truly lost. You are left to guess. The photos and items within cannot talk.

They are usually 2D. You don’t have audio or video options, unless you include a thumb drive, or similar, to support it.

How Can You Preserve Scrapbooks?

We went to four sources for advice on what to do with scrapbooks that are falling apart and/or have run their useful purpose: A parent of young children, a 70-year-old woman who is downsizing, a professional archivist, and the National Archives. We hope their tips will help you. 
 
THE PARENT.

I can’t help you! I gave up on scrapbooks after my first kid. It’s just too much guilt.

I keep some mementos in a fire-safe box for each kid, and the rest is in digital photo storage and the occasional photobook for holidays.

And, in full disclosure, I know one of the founders of Artifcts, so I adopted it early on. Artifcts is my go-to source for almost everything now, even the stuff that goes into the memento box I Artifct first. It’s too easy to forget what is what and which of my kids even made it. I write in pencil on the back of some things, but not everything. Artifcts is more reliable and fun, and they can take the Artifcts I create for them to college without embarrassment.

THE DOWNSIZERS.

“Scrapbooks were more time consuming than figuring out what to do with the entirety of my sewing room!” she told us. Here’s the downsizer’s version of events:

First, I had to find them. I knew I had two somewhere.

Then, I asked my two kids if either of them wanted the scrapbooks. That was like opening Pandora’s Box! I had never actually talked them through the scrapbooks, and they wanted to know more about what was in each. I had the mini-golf tally card from our first date. I even had music albums glued in. I couldn't tackle that time commitment right then because my kids do not even live near me.

I took the albums to a local camera store that has a special scanner and they digitized each page and gave it to me as a collection of photos on a thumb drive and they sent me a second version I could download from the cloud.

I decided to keep the scrapbooks for now. I want to record more of the stories that are in the pictures. I will give them to my eldest daughter when I’m done because she’s more curious about the family history and her daughter liked to page through them when I briefly kept them on my coffee table. Tell people: Do NOT keep them on the coffee table. It was a mistake. They are a mess!

 
 
 
 

A PROFESSIONAL ARCHIVIST.

Monocurate’s motto is “archives for all” and that’s how they work one-on-one with their clients. Professionals can help stabilize your scrapbooks so you can keep them for longer to share with the next generation. Guidelines from an archivist:

    1. Digitize them as-is.
    2. Carefully remove important items. Don't force it! Did you know … Sometimes people would repurpose books, like old phone books, to scrapbook. Upcycling is great, but may make for a bit more fragile scrapbook!
    3. Interleave the scrapbook pages with acid-free paper or tissue.
    4. Most importantly, stop scrapbooking.

It pains archivists to know the future of items consigned to scrapbooks and what the glues, metals, tapes and more will do to their contents.

THE US NATIONAL ARCHIVES.

The position of the Archives is clearest in this statement: “[Scrapbooks are] unique gatherings of material that are best preserved as a unit.” Much like archivists who work with individuals and families, the US National Archives suggests:

    • Store scrapbooks in cool, dry, dark places.
    • House them flat and in archival quality boxes.

Archival Methods logo

 
 
Check out Archival Methods in our Allies in 'Stuff' for a discount code to box your scrapbook!  
    • If you "must" handle them, be careful! Put back anything that falls out, keep your hands clean, and obviously keep food and water away.
    • Do not attempt to repair scrapbooks you wish to pass on to future generations. Seek professional help or you risk further damaging what remains.
    • Avoid stressing the binding and contents by using copy machines. Use a hand-held camera or a face-up copier or scanner. Or, again, seek out a professional for digitization services.

OUR THOUGHTS ON SCRAPBOOKS

While you will not hear Artifcts say, “Stop scrapbooking!” we do strongly encourage you to think about why you scrapbook, what you hope to do with the product of your work one day, and how you can ensure that the stories woven into the contents are not lost.

We don't want your scrapbook and its memories in a trashcan someday, a casualty of too much stuff, too little space, too little interest in figuring out the stories and secrets it holds!

If you are taking the time to create the scrapbook, maybe take time to create an additional Artifct or two to go with the scrapbook, even if the Artifct is of the scrapbook itself, and is your story of why you created it, what it means to you, etc. Bonus, you can include audio and video and bring your scrapbook to life for the next generation.  

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© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Have Passport. Willing to Travel.

Reading time: 4 minutes 
 
With summer travel on our minds, we had some fun recently looking up basic US passport facts available from the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, which is the issuing authority for U.S. passports:

      • There are approximately 160 million active US passports, including US territories. There’s some double counting in there for those with a passport book and card, but you get a sense of scale when we have a total population of roughly 340 million.
      • A state-by-state look at new passports issued as a percentage of each state’s population (est. July 2023) really got our attention. Top of the pile: Washington D.C., New Jersey, Massachusetts, Hawaii, and New York. States with the most subdued interest in new passports: West Virginia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, and Kentucky.
      • Despite all the changes that COVID brought to travel, valid dates for those passports remain unchanged. A child’s passport is still good for 5 years, an adult’s for 10. Makes sense, too. Children under 16 years of age surely change a lot more, on average, than we adults do. And, let’s face it, this probably makes many adults happy if they prefer a younger them in their official passport photo.

Why do we care about passports at Artifcts? Clearly we’re not alone based on the numbers! And talking about the first trip you took on a new passport is a lot more fun than talking about the weather or the latest highway construction project! How old were you? Where did you go? HOW did it go? Scratch that, ask about a first or most recent trip on any passport. Think how different you and your life were 10 years ago and what was guiding you to pick one travel destination over another. 
 
Your passport stamps and visas can unlock so many memories and stories. 
 
Our co-founder Ellen got her first passport to study abroad in Sweden during her junior year of undergraduate studies. Contrast that to her most recent passport which she first used to travel to Israel to speak on a conference panel about technology innovation and human legacy.  
 
In contrast, our other co-founder, Heather, got her first passport to travel to France to study abroad her sophomore year in high school. Her most recent passport stamp? Well, she’s currently mid-trip in the Bahamas, accompanying her husband on his work trip and wrangling brownouts and bugs as she works remote. Oh the stories (and the Artifcts)!

Artifct That Passport!

We have a robust “How to Artifct {fill in the blank}” series that we’ve published over the years. We highly recommend putting it to the test as you Artifct.  
 
Today we’re expanding that series with our best tips to preserve your passports and the memories they hold. Why would you Artifct your passport? To remember and re-live and share all those great and not-so-great travel memories—come on, who has had PERFECT travel and no horror stories to share?  
 
Artifcting passports also makes it easy to pull up trip details to repeat those travels down the road or share with a friend who plans to travel to the same destination. No losing that information in Google Docs, email, or hardcopy only.  
 
See, Artifcts are both everything you can wish for in capturing your stories and memories and incredibly practical, too! 
 
Here's your recipe for Artifcting passports: 
 
1. Start each Artifct with a photo of a stamp and/or visa in your passport. It gets you the location and the date in one go!

2. Add videos and photo:

      • Picture of you in the country.  
      • Video you took out exploring.  
      • Photos of mementos you bought or collected (art, ceramics, t-shirts, pins and spoons, shells and rocks…).
      • Framed picture on your wall from a trip.

3. Don’t forget to add “Documentation” to your Artifct:

      • Travel itinerary (flights, hotels, reservations, museums etc.)
      • Original photo file in case you want to reprint it in the future
      • Receipts, certificates of authenticity, and/or appraisals for any valuable travel mementos you purchase and may need to insure, add to your will, or re-sell one day

4. Now add the story. Use 5 words or 5,000, it’s up to you. No story burden here. And you can choose to add the story in writing or by using voice-to-text or directly recording in the Artifcts app. 
 
 
Want the easy-bake recipe instead?  
 
If what you really want is to tell your favorite stories from the places you’ve been or simply keep track, you can create an Artifct featuring photos of pages of stamps (instead of a single stamp at a time). Then in the Artifct “Description or story,” list out the locations pictured in the stamps and the stories for each. Done!

passport open to show stamps and a visa

 
 
Each stamp has a story. Bonus! The dates make it simple to ensure your Artifct shows up in the right place in your timeline.

Connecting & Sharing Your Artifcted Travel Stories and Mementos

If you’re ready to step beyond the passport only, remember these great Artifcts features and services can help you along the way.

QR CODES

For most travel mementos, you can print or use an Artifcts QR code sticker to link the item, whether the expired passport itself or a ceramic vase you bought in a shop in Italy, with the Artifct. Now anyone who comes across it can scan to get the story.

An Artifcts QR code sticker on a music box from Switzerland

 
 
It's easy to link your Artifct to a QR code sticker - scan and up pops the story!

 
USE @ IN THE ARTIFCT STORY

You can also inter-link your Artifcted stories by typing @ into the story of an Artifct and choosing another related Artifct. That way, all your Italy stories can link together!

 
 
The story in this Artifct includes @ links to people and other Artifcts! Click the image to view the Artifct.

PUBLISH A CUSTOM BOOK WITH US

You may also want to share your stories in a good old fashion book. We know, books can take a lot of work to upload all the photos, lay them out, pick the fonts, fit the text, and so on. Not at Artifcts! Enjoy the memories, we can help with the rest.  
 
Simply purchase a book with our partner Akin, select all the Artifcts you want to publish to a book, and click share to privately send the Artifcts to Akin to layout in your book. You’ll receive a proof before the books are ordered and arrive on yours or a loved one’s doorstep. We have tips to enhance your Artifcts for publication available here, too.

An Artifct published in a book with its story and a QR code to access all the other photos and videos

 
 
Once you create your Artifcts, select any to create a custom book with our partner Akin.

We hope you're inspired to get Artifcting those travel moments hidden within your passport. Happy July to you all!

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© 2024 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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MassChallenge Invites Artifcts Into Early-Stage Accelerator

We interrupt your normal Wednesday ARTIcles story to offer you greetings from Boston, Massachusetts. The Artifcts co-founders flew to Boston yesterday to take part in a multi-day launch of the MassChallenge Early-Stage Accelerator program, one of the world’s top accelerator programs. What’s that? Read on!

As a self-funded, patented startup poised to become a household name—because, let’s face it, who doesn’t have stuff or stories—the team at Artifcts wants to ensure that we’re delivering to you not just the best product to capture the stories, history, and value of all you collect, accumulate, and inherit in life, but that we do so always with an eye toward the best in tech, the best in how we operate (lean!), and more.

MassChallenge is a global network for innovators working to solve massive challenges. MassChallenge connects startups, experts, corporations, and communities to grow and transform businesses and does not take any equity from companies who participate. According to Mass Challenge, the early-stage accelerator has facilitated a remarkable $9B+ in funding for its cohorts.

Of the 1,300+ companies to apply, Artifcts was selected along with approximately 120 others to work together over the next 3 months with industry mentors and partners to challenge how we operate, means to improve, and of course how to grow. While you won’t see any immediate change at Artifcts as we work through the program, we hope that we’ll come out stronger than ever and with new ideas for how to better connect with you and help you to enjoy all that Artifcts offers.

Opening session of MassChallenge, Boston, July 9

 
 
Andrew Bialecki, CEO & Founder of Klaviyo, shares his startup journey during the opening event.

In the meantime, please, continue to Artifct. Share Artifcts with friends and family. We may not have the marketing budget of a goliath corporation, but we have amazing community members who want to see Artifcts succeed. We’re so grateful. And, if you have ideas of what you’d like to see next at Artifcts, or even suggestions for what we could do to make your experience better, let us know! We love and take feedback from our ARTI community to heart.

Wish us luck as we roll up our sleeves and dive into the MassChallenge world!

###

Curious about what else we've been up to?

Explore some of Artifcts' other "As featured in" and awards through the years.

© 2024 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Preserving Your Best Travel Memories

As co-founders, Ellen and I are always meeting interesting people at Artifcts. We were very fortunate to be introduced this spring to Rainer Jenss, founder of the Family Travel Association, former senior executive with National Geographic, and an avid traveler. We loved talking with Rainer so much that we invited him to be our first guest author at ARTIcles. Read on to learn more about his story and experience using Artifcts to remember his 2022 travels in Africa.

_____________________

My wife Carol and I recently returned from a vacation we took to Africa with 25 other people, most of whom we’d never met before, but all who had some kind of connection to the tour’s organizers, Henry and Claire Kartagener. In my case, I’ve worked in the travel industry with Henry Kartagener for years. He’s also been directly responsible for getting Carol and me to Southern Africa several times already, including our first visit back in 1992 that took us on a safari during which we actually ended up getting engaged. Thirty years later, we found ourselves returning yet again, but this time as part of a “Friends of Henry” contingent, some of whom had been to the continent before, many of whom had not.

As I’ve noticed on other trips we’ve been on as part of a group, conversations between people often turn to sharing travel stories. Some just recount something that happened that day, while others recall experiences from previous adventures. It’s as though the act of sharing travel memories with others somehow reinforces their meaning – and all the while, hopefully inspiring those who are listening.

It’s as though the act of sharing travel memories with others somehow reinforces their meaning...

I can relate. For me personally the tales from my life’s adventures traversing the planet and displaying some of the things I picked up along the way represent some of my favorite memories and what I’m most fond of in my life. I think we all probably feel that way in some way no matter how much of the world we’ve traveled. Either way, this idea only strengthens my conviction that traveling is one of the most important things we can do in our lives.

...Travelling is one of the most important things we can do in our lives.

Taking it a step further, if I were asked to recall what our conversations were about, I’d say they usually revolved around the things most of us do while traveling, which include (in no particular order): visiting new places, trying new things, meeting new people, buying souvenirs, and of course, sharing pictures. In fact, it would be pretty easy to argue that thanks to the advances in cellphone technology, capturing and sharing the highlights of our journeys through pictures, whether they be bucket list vacations or just weekend getaways, seems to be the most common activity we almost all now seem to engage in.

 

Victoria falls at sunriseVictoria Falls at sunrise. Click the image to view the Artifct.

But while putting our best-looking pictures on social media has become such an integral part of what we do while traveling, we usually do so without telling the broader stories behind the images we post. Sure, the photos themselves may look great and often make those we share them with envious. But on their own, they rarely capture why the person took it or what it means to them personally.

 

The king protea, national flower of South AfricaThe national flora of South Africa is the King Protea, symbolizing diversity, change and courage. Click the image to view the Artifct.

After recently having discovered Artifcts, I’ve found that it’s now possible to not only preserve and organize the special moments from my travels, I can now do so by also documenting the stories behind them. The very same stories I just might share with fellow travelers somewhere down the road.

Which brings us to what happened when I returned home after spending more than two weeks in Africa with 25 of my new best friends. As usual, I had 100s of images to sort through and edit. But this time, I did so with a different purpose and perspective. Sure, I still tried to pick out the ones that were the most visually compelling. But this time I made sure to set aside some photos of things I usually wouldn’t display in an album or share on social media. Instead, I paid special attention to the photos and videos of those things that best told the story of our trip. Best of all, I used the Artifcts I created to produce a virtual album I shared with those I spent my vacation with. For the purpose of this story, I’ve also made it available to the public in hopes it might inspire others to give it a try. Just go to my Artifcts page to check it out.

Happy Trails . . . and Happy Artifcting!

- Rainer Jenss

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© 2024 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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