Wireless sensor networks provide a convenient manner to monitor the physical environments. How to extend the network lifetime by reducing the amount of message transmissions is a critical issue. In this paper, we propose a multi-resolution compression and storage (MCS) framework to compress and preserve sensing data in a wireless sensor network. Our MCS framework adopts spatial and temporal compression schemes to reduce the amount of message transmissions, so the network lifetime can be prolonged and the network congestion can be alleviated. In addition, we also develop a storage mechanism to maintain sensing data in sensor nodes, so that users can query more detailed data when necessary. Our proposed methods consider the hardware limitations of sensor nodes. We also implement a prototyping system on the MICAz Mote platform.