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The Main Event

Martha Stewart Living, May 2006

Capture the Memories
Digital cameras make sharing pictures easy; models that are 4 megapixels or greater produce high-quality images suitable for printing or posting on a family website. Many digital cameras can also capture short video clips.

Record Interviews
A reunion is a great opportunity to record an oral history from senior family members. Prepare a list of questions ahead of time, and conduct interviews in a comfortable spot with as little background noise as possible. Cover the basics, such as the subject's full name, date and place of birth, occupation, and the like. Then ask open-ended questions to prompt interesting life stories. A few examples: "Tell me how you met Grandpa," "What was it like growing up with Aunt Rachel?" or "When did our family first arrive in this country, and where did those relatives emigrate from?" It's a charming idea to have younger children interview older members of the family. Use a digital voice recorder, or a microphone hooked up to a laptop or MP3 player, to capture these stories; the recordings can be cleaned up with basic audio-editing software and preserved on CDs. Alternatively, they can be posted on the family website for downloading.

Set Up a Scrapbook Station
Create a keepsake during the reunion by pooling together photographs, recipes, and mementos from family members. A laptop computer, scanner, and photo printer will be useful equipment for the task. Or try one of the mini photo studios offered by various manufacturers. These consist of a digital camera that fits into a dock in a compatible photo printer, so images can be sent directly to the printer without a PC. Some digital cameras can also send images wirelessly to a compatible printer or an online photo album.