People often say you can find all sorts of things in a thrift store, so what would you do if you found old photographs, 35-millimetre slides and film canisters? What would you be inspired to do?
David Gutenmacher started a TikTok and Instagram account, hoping to put these frayed memories to good use and help them find their way back to the families to whom they belonged.
That was nearly five years ago. He’s been buying old images ever since and, in 2021, started posting them on his Museum of Lost Memories Instagram account.
His followers — more than 485K people — love the content. For example, a 30-year-old home movie of an African-safari vacation went viral, and one of his followers went to extreme lengths to track down the young man in the video based on a single clue—his Wesleyan Swimming sweatshirt. A week later, the person was located in Maryland, and a digitised copy of the forgotten film was handed to him. The response video attracted just as much attention.
Gutenmacher started a website and graduated from photos and videos to letters, documents, and more – an archive for people to search through and find their lost memories again.
His inspiring journey and the effort he takes to share these forgotten memories put a smile on my face every time I browse through his collections. I hope they give you joy too.
Charlotte Bronte said, “Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness.” So share Just One Thing with your friends. The world needs more joy.