Ever since we lived in our old house, Robb and I have had a tradition with respect to how we display certain family photos. In DC, all family photos deemed "eligible" for display were printed out in black and white, and hung in silver or black frames in random order over our living room sofa. We had photos from our wedding, photos from our parents' weddings, pictures of our parents when they were younger - even a black and white photo of our cats! These photos served as a wonderful conversation piece whenever we had guests over - they loved to guess who the people were by studying both Robb and I in order to determine a resemblance.
We had so much fun with this tradition, that it was a given that we would continue it in our new home. In fact, one of the first things we did when we moved in was to determine the appropriate wall in our home to display the family wall. Well, we mistakenly selected a wall in our dining room that was shared by the front door, so we were constantly straightening the pictures every time that the door was closed firmly - I recently relocated the family wall to the opposite wall in our dining room above one of our buffets - much less labor intensive!
Here's a shot of the wall as it stands now -
and viewed from a different angle -
I attempted to hang the photos this time in a pseudo "family tree" configuration, but quickly gave up. The three main photos hung diagonally in the center of the collage are from our wedding (and that's my bridal bouquet and one of the champagne flutes from our wedding on the buffet - I broke the other one :-(), the lower right and upper left photos are from our parents' weddings, but that's where the genealogy stops. The rest are a variety of parents, uncles, aunts, siblings, grandparents, great-grandparents, and in one case, even great-great grandparents! We intend for this wall to grow as we acquire additional family history photos (I have a stack that I recently acquired form my mom of she and her brothers playing in the snow in Massachusetts when she was about three that I need to go through). In order to keep it from getting too crazy, we did impose a couple of guidelines/limitations -
1) All photos on the wall need to have been taken prior to our wedding day of July 22, 2006 (so you will notice there are no Heidi pics - there's a separate plan in process for those pics)
2) All photos MUST have at least one family member in them (obviously...it's a family wall)
3) All frames mush be black or silver in tone - but this is where the frame requirements end - I know some people feel strongly about using the exact same type of frames in order to unify a display, but I like the vintage, homey quality that a bunch of different types of frames gives - besides, it's much cheaper to display them this way! I think that by keeping the frames hues consistent, you can still achieve a uniform look without looking too "matchy matchy"
We recently enjoyed dinner with our neighbors in this room, and had a good time telling stories of our ancestors that go along with each of the photos. Having these photos on display in our home is a constant reminder of where we come from, and really helps us to remember how much we have to be thankful for.