A Medal for Miss Baker, the Original Space Monkey

As I am writing this, there are six people in space, all aboard the International Space Station. While these missions are now routine, in the 1950s scientists weren’t certain that the human body could survive in a weightless environment. Years before the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) sent Alan Shepard into space, American rockets carried … Continue reading A Medal for Miss Baker, the Original Space Monkey

Majestic Mount Rainier: Finding My Park in the Archives

This year the National Park Service is celebrating its Centennial and encouraging Americans to “Find Your Park.” Even though I now reside on the opposite side of the country, I know my park will always be Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State. Growing up outside Seattle, my family took advantage of summer weather to … Continue reading Majestic Mount Rainier: Finding My Park in the Archives

Universal News Presents “A Whirl with the Squirrels”

Squirrels have long been popular in American culture. In 1959 Jay Ward introduced us to Rocky the Flying Squirrel and today we have the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and her squirrel friends. The Washington Post even has an annual squirrel photography contest. So it’s no surprise that in 1953 the producers of the Universal Newsreel series … Continue reading Universal News Presents “A Whirl with the Squirrels”

Film Preservation 201: Exploring A&B Rolls with “Jenny is a Good Thing”

Earlier we wrote about an Oscar-nominated film preserved at the National Archives (NARA) called Jenny is a Good Thing. It was produced in 1969 by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, but for a long time we didn’t know where the original film reels were stored. In 2007, NARA archivists rescued over 3,000 government … Continue reading Film Preservation 201: Exploring A&B Rolls with “Jenny is a Good Thing”

Nutrition for Body and Mind: “Jenny is a Good Thing” and the Head Start Program

Oscar season is always a special time of year for the National Archives’ Motion Picture Preservation Lab. It’s a chance for us to reflect on the numerous Oscar-winning films we preserve for the American people and to remember our own brush with Oscars glory (2013 Academy Award of Merit, accepted on behalf of all film … Continue reading Nutrition for Body and Mind: “Jenny is a Good Thing” and the Head Start Program

From Selma to Montgomery: The Selma Voting Rights Movement

This year, Martin Luther King Jr. Day falls on January 18, the anniversary of a march that Dr. King helped lead from Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church to the Selma Courthouse for the purpose of voter registration. The marchers were not allowed to register, but this was just one skirmish in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s … Continue reading From Selma to Montgomery: The Selma Voting Rights Movement

Holiday Mail Call! A Package’s Path to You

It’s the time of year when fireplace mantles are filling up with holiday cards and brown-wrapped parcels are delivered to doorsteps. The packages, letters, and cards we drop into mail-slots across the country contribute to an annual crescendo in the activities of the United States Postal Service (USPS). In the 2015 holiday season, the USPS … Continue reading Holiday Mail Call! A Package’s Path to You

Spotlight on Veterans: Navy Women in Parachute Rigger Training

There aren’t many schools that include jumping out of an airplane as part of your final exam, but that’s just what these women parachute riggers had to do in 1951. Women sailors in the Navy went through the same training as men at the Parachute Materials School at Naval Air Station Lakehurst in New Jersey. These … Continue reading Spotlight on Veterans: Navy Women in Parachute Rigger Training

Playing Fetch with Pilot Whales: The Navy’s Project Deep Ops

Back in June, we published a post about animals in the military. It featured war dogs, bat and pigeon bombs, and monkey saboteurs. We thought we’d covered everything, but almost as soon as that post was published, we digitized a film for our research room that highlights torpedo-retrieving whales. One of these whales is Ahab. … Continue reading Playing Fetch with Pilot Whales: The Navy’s Project Deep Ops

Colorful Chemistry and a Visit to Your National Parks

If I asked you to tell me what you think of when you think of silent films, one characteristic you may mention is that silent films are black and white. While it is true that most silent films were shot using black and white film, by the time they were projected many had vibrant colors … Continue reading Colorful Chemistry and a Visit to Your National Parks