CREATING A THEMED DISPLAY
We have a bunch of old optometry-themed pieces. I used to display the stereoscope with a single card before we moved, first on top of the piano then on top of the mantle. This time, I wanted to create a themed display that would be more visually interesting and more of a conversation-starter.
The large 24"x30" shadow box came from JoAnn Fabrics. The inside back surface it came with was a black felt-like fabric. I wanted more visual contrast, so I had the custom framing department at Michaels cut a piece of acid-free mat board to put in front of the fabric. The cards are held in place with removable Scotch Wall-Mounting Tabs.
THE BACKSTORY (WHAT IS IT?)
My father-in-law and his father, too, were optometrists. They would have used the stereoscope and these fun cartoon cards to check how well a child's eyes were working together. The two images would appear as a single 3-dimensional image through the stereoscope, and feedback about whether or not objects appeared to align would be used to diagnose vision problems, such as "lazy eye."
There is plenty of trendy stuff out there that has one purpose - to catch your eye and convince you to buy it. You know the stuff I am talking about - the "that was SO yesterday" decor you see all the time at garage sales. You have to listen very closely to that little voice when you are out shopping, asking you, "Is this just for a future garage sale?"
And, maybe search the attic first. Sometimes a little creative thinking can result in something you would have paid money for -- but is so much more meaningful because it has a family story to tell.