How can I safely display my father's WWII memorabilia in a box picture frame?
Q. Dear Donia,
I have some of my dad's WWII memorabilia that I'd like to display in a box picture frame. I am not sure how to do this without damage to the items. The collection consists of a Canadian Red Cross handkerchief that has places and memories written on it, and I'd like to open it and display it as a backdrop. The rest consists of his army pay book, medal ribbons, a metal cap badge, and several old photographs. Any help with this would be much appreciated. Thanks, Fred
A. Dear Fred,
What a wonderful idea to share your family's history! I would recommend getting a high-quality scan of the handkerchief to use as the backdrop. If places and memories are written on it, the ink could easily fade over time and you also don't want to put holes in it or potentially have the metals stain the fabric. This also gives you an opportunity to enlarge it to make reading it easier or to allow for placement of the other items easier.
Next, as you start to mount your other items, think about doing this in such a way that you don't damage them. You can get small specimen pins like these from our sponsor Hollinger Metal Edge. I would look at the .45 or .5mm pins. These are easily bent with needle nose pliers to form little books for medals and badges and can be used as a shelf for the pay book.
For the photos, I would again use good scans so that you can more easily mount the facsimile and save the originals in a box safely away from light. This way you can mount the photos any way you like on the facsimile back drop.
All of this can be mounted to a piece of foam core with acid free paper facing. The foam core is easily cut to size, is easy to push the pins through (they can be bent over on the back and held in place with tape), and is easy to find. This should then sit nicely into the shadow box.
Please let me know if you have trouble finding any of these materials in England, and I will send some resources closer to home.
Good luck with your project!