Picturing the Past - Introduction

Introduction - Part 1 of 6

Faded photos, antique postcards, even old newspaper ads bring the past to life with an intensity and immediacy words alone rarely achieve. Welcome to Picturing the Past, a six part series that explains how to find, edit and effectively use vintage images.  


If you work at a museum, a historic attraction, are responsible for promoting tours and events, or are searching for interesting ways to highlight your destination’s cultural heritage or historic neighborhoods, this series is for you.

Visuals drive engagement. Hundreds of popular websites, blogs and Facebook pages have been built around vintage photos. It’s fun to look at iconic shots of Victorian New York and Hollywood in the 1920s, but what about your town?

If no one is posting historic local shots, consider undertaking the project yourself. It is an ideal way to build and engage an audience. You’ll learn specifically how to do so in the sections on social media and designing offline events.

If someone has already created a popular Facebook page by posting old local shots, don’t despair. That’s actually good news. It means there’s an audience and lots of pictures have been located. Besides, posting on social platforms is just one way to use old images. There are plenty of others. That’s what this series is all about.  

Here’s what’s included:

Part 1 – Introduction – Series overview.

Part 2 – Finding Vintage Images – There are so many potential sources for old photos, ads, maps and postcards, figuring out where to start your search can be overwhelming. We’ll show you how and where to look.

Part 3– Legality of Image Use – Our unprecedented access to photos raises serious questions regarding intellectual property and ownership. Can you legally use that fabulous image you just found? Should you?

Part 4 – Organizing, Editing and Enhancing ImagesWhether you download them, scan them or shoot them yourself, most pictures can be improved with a bit of basic editing.  We’ll take a look at several free editing tools, recommend a fantastic free graphic design platform and offer suggestions on organizing your images so they are easy to find, easy to share and easy to use. 

Part 5 – How to Use Vintage Images on Social MediaAchieving success on social channels is not difficult but it does take time, thought and planning. How do you do it and is it worth the effort?

Part 6 – Using Vintage Images in Offline Marketing and as Inspiration for Programs and Events – Old images are effective additions to blog posts, web pages, newsletters and offline materials such as programs, business cards, menus, membership forms, and more. There are also a number of ways to build complimentary programs and events around vintage images.  

Are you ready to get started? Part 2 – Finding Vintage Images is up next.