50 Years Makes a Difference! How Film Research Has Changed Since the 1972 Conference on Audiovisual Archives

You may have heard that the National Archives is partnering with the University of Maryland Cinema and Media Studies Program to present Films of State, an online conference on government-produced moving images (if not, check out my last blog post for more background). What you may not know is that the National Archives sponsored a … Continue reading 50 Years Makes a Difference! How Film Research Has Changed Since the 1972 Conference on Audiovisual Archives

Introducing Films of State, a Conference on Government Films

Today I am thrilled to tell you about something we’ve been working on: Films of State, a three day online conference focused on government films and NARA’s holdings, scheduled for April 7-9, 2021. We’ve partnered with the University of Maryland Cinema and Media Studies program and gathered an international slate of scholars to discuss some … Continue reading Introducing Films of State, a Conference on Government Films

Image of man in army fatigues setting up a television camera. There are two buses behind him that are labeled "MOBILE TELEVISION"

Spotlight: Finding Footage for National History Day Projects

In recent months, the National Archives' Education Updates blog has posted a series of pieces focusing on award-winning National History Day documentaries. National History Day is an annual contest for students in grades 6-12 to produce a variety of project types, including exhibits, websites, papers, performances, and documentaries. NARA’s Education Specialists have covered three fantastic … Continue reading Spotlight: Finding Footage for National History Day Projects

Searchable Stock Shots: 306-LSS Films Now Online!

A couple of years back, the National Archives Motion Picture Preservation Lab started seeing an uptick in researcher reference requests for one specific series of films: 306-LSS, a group of more than 400 black and white reels of stock footage that ended up in the hands of the United States Information Agency (USIA). As the … Continue reading Searchable Stock Shots: 306-LSS Films Now Online!

Film Preservation 101: Why does this film smell like vinegar?

Film Preservation 101 is an occasional series in which we answer our most frequently asked questions.  You may have heard that old films can be dangerous, and potentially even explosive (we covered this topic in Film Preservation 101: Is Nitrate Film Really Dangerous?) and you’re worried about your grandfather’s home movies that you keep in … Continue reading Film Preservation 101: Why does this film smell like vinegar?

Christmas Thoughts: Giving for the Holidays

This post was produced with help from Heidi Holmstrom and Ivy Donnell, who made the GIFs. In December of 1920, Ford Motor Company sent prints of the film Christmas Thoughts (FC-FC-328) to Ford dealers around the country. The film encouraged viewers to establish a local Goodfellows’ Club, with their local dealer serving as the headquarters. … Continue reading Christmas Thoughts: Giving for the Holidays

“Tales from the Hoja”: Marionettes with a Message

Early this year, a small stack of 16mm film cans came down to the Motion Picture Preservation Lab for a condition assessment. They were wrapped in dirty cloth tape, and marked The Emperor’s Elephant. We were interested, thinking it might be a fun animated film. As we wound through the Kodachrome reels, we discovered beautifully detailed marionettes made … Continue reading “Tales from the Hoja”: Marionettes with a Message

Road Trip Wrap-up and the Mount Vernon Memorial Highway

If you’ve been following along on our virtual road trip of our nontextual holdings, you’ve journeyed with us from our home base in Maryland, south to Richmond, Virginia and on to North Carolina. You joined us in Charleston, Memphis, New Orleans, and then farther west to Texas. We went to Albuquerque and Las Vegas, and … Continue reading Road Trip Wrap-up and the Mount Vernon Memorial Highway

A Mother, a Baby, a Name: Identifying One of the Youngest Survivors of the Holocaust

In five brief seconds at the end of a reel of U.S. Army Signal Corps footage, a mother shows off her baby. [wpvideo BkbDHx9y] Out of context, she might look like any new mother photographed with a newborn. With one hand holding a blanket away from the baby’s face, she smiles and appears to laugh … Continue reading A Mother, a Baby, a Name: Identifying One of the Youngest Survivors of the Holocaust

Film Preservation 101: Is Nitrate Film Really Dangerous?

Is Nitrate Film Really Dangerous? Nitrate film is a material we don’t often encounter at the National Archives for obvious reasons. After the devastating 1978 nitrate vault fire, the agency quickly copied any remaining nitrate to acetate or polyester safety film and disposed of the original reels. When we do come across a reel in … Continue reading Film Preservation 101: Is Nitrate Film Really Dangerous?