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What do you call the objects that make you remember other things or that you keep to remember a moment or a place? I mean souvenirs, photographs, etc.

54

Memento

noun

  1. an object or item that serves to remind one of a person, past event, etc.; keepsake; souvenir.
  2. anything serving as a reminder or warning.

Example:
They offered tea, a smoke, and an Egyptian flag as a memento.

(Dictionary.com)

Definition №1 is probably most relevant here, even using the word you mention.

  • 1
    It's also worth noting (considering the title of this question) that memento means remember in Latin (imperative of meminisse). (Etymonline) – Kyle Nov 30 '16 at 1:02
  • @Kyle Which afaik probably comes from the greek verb "memnèmai" (used in the word "mnemotechnic") – Pierre Arlaud Nov 30 '16 at 10:19
24

A little old-fashioned, but still perfectly good, and in my opinion, rather charming:

Keepsake

something that helps you remember a person, place, or occasion: Her aunt gave her a little wooden elephant as a keepsake.

(Cambridge Dictionary)

I think this fits very well with the question (something that you keep to remember a moment or a place).

10

Memory Trigger

It is a rather self-explanatory answer and to those who doubt it, this phrase is used: Ngrams

Those who were given the cassis smell remembered more details about the film and found their memories more unpleasant and arousing than those who had the background music as a memory trigger, although the lights and the smell were equally effective.

(Telegraph)

This would be used in a more scientific context and suggests a more official usage rather than a memento — a more homely item that you would keep on your mantelpiece.

  • I believe a memory trigger works more on a physical level, I've mostly heard it connected with smell, which uses some pathways in the brain to bring back even memories we almost forgot we had. – The Vee Nov 29 '16 at 11:45
10

aide-memoire.

1.An aid to the memory, especially a book or document.
Example sentences.
‘His hundreds of sketchbooks were invaluable aide-memoire, and he kept them well organized so he could quickly locate what he wanted.’
‘These photos later served as aides-memoires for the large decorative panels.’
.
Origin.
Mid 19th century: from French aide-mémoire, from aider to help and mémoire memory. — O-D

8

Not quite what you're looking for, I think, but if it's remembering a moment or place in the sense of memorising facts, you may consider

mnemonic

noun

  1. a system such as a pattern of letters, ideas, or associations which assists in remembering something.
  • Ah, yes -- don't forget Mnemosyne! – Hot Licks Nov 29 '16 at 12:35
  • 2
    @HotLicks Should auld acquaintance be forgot, for the lack of Mnemosyne... ;) – Graham Nov 29 '16 at 13:12
7

If the object doesn't evoke a memory personal to the owner, memorabilia might be a good term.

mem·o·ra·bil·i·a (mem(ə)rəˈbilēə)

noun

objects kept or collected because of their historical interest, especially those associated with memorable people or events.

"World Series memorabilia"

archaic - memorable or noteworthy things.

(Google Answer Box for Memorabilia)

  • @choster You're absolutely right. I'll add the source. And thanks for the links. – Justin Hammar Dec 4 '16 at 17:05
3

It could be called a mnemonic object which the "Memory Techniques Wiki" explains in more detail:

The "mnemonic object" method is based on the Von Restorff Effect, which says that items that stand out are more easily remembered. By placing a familiar object in an unfamiliar context, you can intentionally trigger the recall of a memory when that out-of-place object is seen again.

In Italian, we like to say "ricordo" (another word for a souvenir or momento) or the more commonly used word, "bombiniere" (a keepsake given at celebrations).

Hope this helps :)

Sources: http://mt.artofmemory.com/wiki/How_to_Remember_Things_with_a_Mnemonic_Object https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/ricordo#Italian http://mt.artofmemory.com/wiki/How_to_Remember_Things_with_a_Mnemonic_Object

2

remembrance


  1. a. The act or process of remembering.
    b. The state of being remembered: holds him in fond remembrance.
  2. Something serving to celebrate or honor the memory of a person or event; a memorial.
  3. The length of time over which one's memory extends: events within my remembrance.
  4. Something remembered; a reminiscence.
  5. A souvenir.
  6. remembrances Greetings: Please give my remembrances to your mother.

Alternatively:

reminder

  1. something that recalls the past
  2. a note to remind a person of something not done

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