It’s all the rage – Documenting your home

Believe it or not.     History is being made today.        Somewhere in the future, they’ll be talking about what we were watching on TV, what we were wearing, what we were doing and trying to figure out the deep philosophical reasons that motivated us.

Let’s not leave them guessing. (And probably guessing wrong)

Whether you live in a brand-spanking new home, a recently built structure or an historic house, it is important for posterity who you were and what you (yes, so-called unimportant you!) did to decorate the house, renovate the rooms or even how you just kept the place.      And they’ll want to know some form of continuity – who built it initially and why and if more than one family occupied it.

This is something that everyone aught to be doing in Newburyport inside and outside the historic districts.      Archive centers and Museums literally dance with joy when a considerate citizen prepares a thorough documentation of their home.

Thanks to high-technology available to us today, we can take pictures, scan in historic documents and images; write and publish a storybook about the house.       Your ‘fun’ can be shared with your friends and families but it can also inspire and enrich the community and future researchers by having your materials donated to the local Newburyport Archive Center or to our local historical societies and museums.

So, what is the process?

First, find as much history as you can on your home.        I have an earlier post on just how to do that.      As for digging around on the architecture and  how it was constructed, check out this post.

Second, start taking pictures on the way you have decorated your home.      Yes, your taste matters and is now part of the history.     Historic New England recently was approached by a Hollywood producer – they wanted photographs of people just living in their homes and how they decorated them.    Purpose: recreate authentic time periods complete with how they dressed!       Your monogrammed T-shirt or tank top is a story onto itself for future historians and historic film re-enactors!

Third, every time you renovate something or even repair it, document it step-by-step.      Who is the carpenter or contractor that won the bid?     What’s the story behind them? (Might be just good to check out their previous performance and work anyhow.)    What needed to get done and why did it have to be done in this particular way?      Future historians will want to know the what and the why!

Fourth, write a narrative on your family life.     What do you do in that house?      What special occasions require a change in decorations?      What do you or each family member do for fun and relaxation?    What do you eat?  What are the challenges that you face in today’s society as it relates to the house?    

If you want to go one step further, you can have the book published.      In this way, a particular snapshot of history has been captured – it can be sent off as gifts.       Whether in a loose-leaf manner or handsomely published, the historical societies and the archivists will greatly appreciate what you have done.       

I know that countless, future historians will!

-P. Preservationist


About P. Preservationist

Dedicated to the Enrichment & Preservation of Newburyport
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