The Museum of Lost Memories is not a physical museum with a building, tickets, and coffee bar. Rather, it's a collection of social media accounts that aim to place priceless memories back into the hands of their owners. And that's exactly what happened when internet commenters banded together to find the family featured in an 8mm videotape shot on Christmas morning in 1995.
The Museum of Lost Memories social media accounts posted: "I found this 8mm cassette tape at a thrift store in Santa Cruz, California! As you can see, the tape is titled 'Christmas ‘95' and the date is confirmed on the tape itself. Pretty much the entire tape is a family opening up gifts on Christmas morning."
The clues in the old Christmas home movie included mentions of Lake Tahoe and Santa Cruz, which are both located in California. The names Ted, Aunt Cathy, and Uncle Terry were also heard on the tape. The little girl's name appeared to be Liberté.
Within hours, commenters on the @museumoflostmemories Instagram page found the woman who was the little girl seen in the video.
Finding the Little Girl
"That's definitely me! Thank you," said Liberté Reilly, who just so happened to describe herself as a "museum lover" in her bio. She showed the priceless video to her family, saying: "We are all happy to see it. Both my grandparents in the video have passed so it was really nice to hear their voices again."
The Museum of Lost Memories posted how the Christmas videotape likely ended up at a thrift store: "They think the tape was probably lost when getting rid of the old camera they used."
We reached out to Reilly, who told us that she had never seen the video before, not even back in 1995 after it was recorded. "We do have photos from that day in our photo albums though which I have seen many times," she said.
We also asked if she remembered any of the moments in the nostalgic clip. "I was four in the video and unfortunately don’t recall that day in particular," she told us. "I do remember my mum telling me about it while we looked at the photos. The matching sweaters were handmade by my aunt and I recall wearing them vividly."
Our last question to Reilly asked what it was like to be able to watch a moment from her life that she never expected to see again. "It’s thrown me through a bit of a loop seeing these," she said. "I hadn’t heard my grandparents' voices since they passed and it was really emotional. It’s even more of a treasure because of that connection with my grandparents. It’s really a joy to see and relive (even though I don’t recall the first time around)."
The Museum of Lost Memories
As for what happens next, a digitized version of the entire video will be sent to the family.
This Christmas 1995 videotape wasn't the first time that the Museum of Lost Memories helped return lost treasures to their rightful owners. It also likely won't be the last.