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Ways to Preserve Americana

By Editorial Staff

Americanaby Info Guru Aurora LaJambre

Walk through any classic car show, sit in an old-fashioned diner or poke around a New England antique barn and you’ll find countless examples of Americana.

The term refers to items that are quintessential to American culture and history, representing the best craftsmanship and often evoking nostalgia.

These slice-of-life items from the past are often well-made, but they won’t last forever without a little help. Here are ten ways to preserve Americana so future generations can enjoy it, too.

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10. Authentic restoration

Authentic restoration

It takes a little more effort and money to restore an old piece of machinery rather than upgrading to the latest technology. In the long run, it’s worth it. Regardless of where you live or what your project is, the internet makes it easier to find merchants who specialize in parts for vintage tractors, cars, sewing machines or any other project you’d like to take on.

9. Make it a destination

Make it a destination

America’s cultural history is filled with odd curiosities and influential eccentrics. Fortunately, small quirky museums have popped up all over the country to educate and celebrate them. Next time you’re planning a trip, make time for a visit to, say, Margaret Mitchell’s House in Atlanta, the Cable Car Museum in San Francisco or the National Museum of Funeral History. Why not?

8. Collect them all

Collect them all

Iconic vintage images from posters, advertisements and even baseball cards get a second life printed on tin signs and function items like light switch covers, thermometers and pails. Whether you just really like coke kitsch, Elvis memorabilia or older designs, starting a collection is one of the most engaging ways to preserve Americana.

7. Re-live it

Re-live it

It’s impossible to look at American history without including the hard fought battles that won us independence and unified the nation. No need to wonder what it was like to sweat through summer in wool uniforms and drinking coffee made from peanut grounds when you visit Gettysburg and other historic sites.

6. Travel for it

Travel for it

America’s cultural history goes beyond chrome toasters and tin banks. You can still experience the excitement of bringing your kids to their first drive-in movie in their pajamas or take a drive down historic Route 66. Give gadgets the night off and hit the road.

5. Dance to it

Dance to it

You don’t even need a partner to swing to Jazz in New Orleans. Hop along to a Tin Pan Alley tune or try to keep up with Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Buddy Holly. Listen, dance to it, teach it, play it and love it, or all of the above.

4. Country décor

 Country décor

Woven baskets, barn stars and handmade quilts remind people that life is filled with simple beauty. You don’t have to live in a farmhouse to appreciate those simpler times. One of the best ways to preserve Americana is to support those still practicing handmade crafting. Add the warmth of rustic country décor to your home.

3. Wear it proud

Wear it proud

Dust off your cowboy hat and see if you don’t love the look of cowboy boots with your favorite pair of jeans. Classic styles return to popularity again and again because they embody something important about our way of life.

2. Pass it on

Pass it on

One of the reasons so many have a fondness for Americana is the personal memories it brings to mind. When an older relative talks about the tree-line street he grew up on, swinging from trees while his mom bakes her signature peach pie, try to remember the details. Write them down and pass them on to other family members.

1. Taste it

Taste it

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Remember spending your allowance on penny candies? Sucking on gummies that first hit you with a punch of sour then hugged you with sweetness? How about loading up an ice cream sundae with chopped candy bars? Life is still that delicious. Treat yourself to some of the most crave-worthy retro sweets from yesterday.


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