Photographs provide essential clues to the past. Through them we have been able to study and understand much about the history of particular families, communities, businesses, and organizations, the history of specific events and broader societal trends, and history in general. When you donate your personal or family photos to us, your family history becomes a part of our greater human family's collective memory. Most of our donations come from found photos from estate sales, garage sales, attics in old houses, and not just personal collections.
Our only request is that you do not throw these treasures away.
We will preserve them and gladly add them to the vault.
Our ultimate mission is to preserve photographic history around the world for future generations. There is no doubt about it, the human story is essential and as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words..
It is our mission to digitize and record lost, forgotten and otherwise discarded photographs for years to come. Our efforts are focused on preserving old negatives, developing old film, digitizing photos, postcards, journals and old letters, preserving and conserving them, and creating a record of the people, places, events and activities of our human race. After all, it's our story!
Interested in learning some quick facts about old photographs?
Check out these facts and a few eye-openers.
72% of people today feel that it is okay to throw away old photos, journals, letters, postcards and other historically significant items.
18% of people believe it is worthwhile to save old photos, journals, letters, postcards and other historically significant items.
10% of people hold onto their old things but they have admitted that they will more than likely never do anything with them.
First and foremost, we encourage you to think about the three P's: Preserve, Package & Pass On. Keeping the three P's in mind drastically reduces the amount of photographic memory that goes to waste each and every day. A variety of materials in your personal and family records are often valuable to researchers—including family photos, journals, old travel postcards, memorabilia, and even marriage and other certificates. We work primarily with photographs, but we pass on things we cannot use or have already recorded to community archives, libraries, repositories and museums to ensure that history is preserved.
Before sending materials, please read our Legal Disclaimer below.
Please include your name and a return address with every photo or document donation you send in. If you have any information about the items, please try to include that as well. This includes names, places, dates - anything that can help us identify and categorize the items. We will send you an acknowledgment once we receive your donation. There are plans for an archive website in the future as well as a book series. You will be listed as a donor if you wish - just make sure to specify your wish and current contact information if you wish it to be included.
Note that items you send in will NOT be returned.
“With your help, we’ve finally been able to begin our preservation efforts. Every photographic donation makes a difference. With your help, we’re working every single day to preserve history and share the human story.”
Kytka Hilmar-Jezek, Photographic Preservation Chair
with Assistants, Zanna Jezek and Zynnia Jezek.
Want to help out? Make a donation today by sending your images to the address below. Anyone can make a difference bysending their old photos, journals, postcards, certificates, and other historically significant items to The Photo Vault. Additionally, if you like what we do and you wish to help support the project, you can also make a financial donation as well. Please read the Legal Disclaimer below.Make a Financial Donation