Frequently, when people bring us old family paintings they're considering having us restore, they ask, "How much is the painting worth"?
The answer is that it's worth whatever you think it is. There's monetary value and there's sentimental value. Work by a known artist probably has some monetary value; we can look up past sales of that artist's work by checking auction sales, which gives a pretty good idea of the monetary value of the piece.
Keep in mind that virtually everything in museum collections today started off in someone's home. Your painting may have been done years before you were born and, with proper care, should be here for years after your lifetime. At this time, though, you are the keeper, or guardian, of the painting and you are responsible for caring for it.
What we, at the Museum Shop, Ltd. feel, though, is that sentimental value is most important. When our daughter was 2-5 years old, her artwork was always absolutely delightful. We recognized that, as she grew older, her work would become more realistic, but would lose some of its charm. We would never be able to get more of her "happy" art. So we framed several of her paintings just the way we would frame artwork by a world-known artist, to preserve and protect them. They're invaluable and irreplaceable, and we still consider them to be the most important art in our home. They still look exactly as they did when they were created 30-35 years ago; we're happy we spent the money to have them framed properly.
The same goes for paintings that hung in your parents' home when you were growing up, or for old, fading family photographs. Don't those mean more to you than any other pictures, and weren't they treasured by your parents? If you don't take care of them, who will? Wouldn't you love, someday, to see them hanging in your grown children's homes? It's your responsibility to take care of them now, before they suffer irreparable damage.