Posted by Ancestry Team on October 27, 2016 in Family History Month, Guest Bloggers

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When it comes to historical items and hand-me-downs, we tend to be very cautious. We want to preserve them, honor them and respect them—which often means not using them. But what if we simply displayed them (or photocopies of them) instead? One of the best ways to pass history down from generation to generation is to showcase it in unique ways in our homes. Creating a gallery wall of sentimental items that reflect our family’s story is a great way to honor all that has come before us.

Here are 10 ideas and suggestions for displaying history in your home with style.

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  1. Shadow Box

Use a shadow box to showcase an old school book or family album. The depth of a shadow box is perfect for displaying any item with dimension on a gallery wall. Use archival paper in the back of the shadow box, attach the book with adhesive designed to preserve historical pieces, close the front of the shadow box and it’s ready to display.

  1. Piece of History

Hang an architecture, molding or building fragment that represents a piece of family history. Adding a label to the front of the piece helps visitors to understand its significance.


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  1. Dated Plate

Add a date or special occasion to a plate and hang it in the gallery wall. Anniversary plates for gold and silver wedding anniversaries are also a creative way to remember special dates.

  1. Framed Quote

Frame a favorite quote from someone in the family. Simply print out the quote on decorative cardstock and add the author’s name at the bottom of the page. Next, add a decorative frame and hang it on the gallery wall next to a picture of the author.


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  1. Word Art

A current design trend is to create a piece of art from a poem, quote or verse that has meaning. Here, an entire picture of a thistle is designed from words written about family and friends. What a unique and creative way to let words paint the picture! A piece of art like this can be framed and hung in the gallery wall.

  1. Watercolor Photograph

Create a watercolor from a family photograph and frame it. Select a photo with historical significance. Next, using a watercolor app or photo enhancing software, create a watercolor of the photograph then frame and hang in the gallery.

  1. Personalized Map

Print out a map of a place that is important to family history. For three-dimensional art, you could also add a map to a cork board and show a trip or journey that took place, marking the stops along the way with pins and string.

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  1. Custom Sign

Paint a sign that goes the distance. Simply choose two locations, add arrows and list the mileage from your home to each of them. It’s a fun way to celebrate places that are important to family history.

  1. Family Recipe

Print out a recipe on cardstock and display in a frame. If you have the original recipe card, it might be fun to frame a photocopy of that instead. You could also group a number of different recipes around a theme in one frame.

  1. Reclaimed Wood

Collect wood from an old building or location that has history and construct a project with it. Using the wood, you could paint a sign, build a clock or even construct an arrow.

The key to preserving history is to remember what has gone on before. Don’t tuck it away and forget it. Display it instead! Celebrating our history today helps lay the foundation for generations to come.


Thistlewood Farms is the award-winning website of KariAnne Wood. KariAnne is a DIY crafter and decor enthusiast who writes online for The Home Depot. To further research design trends for walls, including those KariAnne writes about, you can visit the Home Depot website here.


  1. Jeffrey Shelton

    My results for all “related” persons indicate that they’re 4th to 6th cousins. If I’m right the genetic link between three people and myself is extremely small. All the same, prior to testing I’d identified one man in the 19th century who showed on my list of descendants. His family is extremely large and is in the mid/west where some of my tree resided.

  2. I have a gallery wall with framed pictures of my mother’s family on the wall like a family tree.
    These small framed pictures (mother,parents, grandparents and gr-grandparents) are surrounded by one large gold frame. I remember them every time I walk down the hall.
    Katherine M. McLamb

  3. Catherine M. Parker

    I have embroidered, and quilted, a tree with the appropriate branches, and written the names of 6-8 generations on the branches. My Children, Grandchildren and Great-Grandchildren are the roots. I know it is upside down, but I liked it this way. You may see it on my facebook page. Catherine Parker

  4. Linda Simons

    I’ve purchased old drawings and photos of the ships that carried my relatives to the United States. I plan to frame them and hang them together.

  5. Love

    Why are people so big on charging a struggling country . I mean really . YOU WANT Me To Pay TO KNOW MY heritage . Smh never

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