The Wright Military Flyer Soars on Celluloid: Uncovering the Story of Our Oldest Government Film

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is well known for preserving the first written records of our nation. People come from around the world to see the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. But what about the first government films? The oldest known government-produced film in our holdings is First Army Aeroplane … Continue reading The Wright Military Flyer Soars on Celluloid: Uncovering the Story of Our Oldest Government Film

See Movies from Your Car! (If You Can Beat the Traffic)

Sidney Lust's Drive In Theatre, U.S. Route 1, Beltsville, Maryland (NAID: 169136694) It’s summertime and that means that it is drive-in movie season! In their heyday, there were thousands of drive-in theaters across the United States. Some of these drive-ins could accommodate over a thousand vehicles at a time, so you can imagine the kind … Continue reading See Movies from Your Car! (If You Can Beat the Traffic)

The Film Frontier: Using Films and Videos in Your National History Day Project

The 2022 National History Day contests resulted in many fascinating projects covering topics ranging from labor and environmental debates to U.S.-China Ping Pong Diplomacy. Now it is time to begin looking ahead to 2023! The 2023 NHD contest theme is Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas and on page 35 of the 2023 NHD Theme … Continue reading The Film Frontier: Using Films and Videos in Your National History Day Project

Queens of the Air: American Women Aviation Pioneers

This post was co-written with Katherine Stinson, an Archives Specialist in the National Archives (NARA) Moving Image and Sound Branch. One of the joys of archives is discovering a research subject you never even knew was missing from your life. The NARA Moving Image and Sound Branch and the Motion Picture Preservation Lab collaborated on … Continue reading Queens of the Air: American Women Aviation Pioneers

Screen shot of a presentation given by Sarah Eilers of the National Library of Medicine, who appears in a small box at the bottom right of the screen. The slide she is presenting shows a video player with a still of a film showing Gene Kelly in a Navy uniform and an unidentified woman. The slide is headed with the title of the film, "Combat Fatigue Irritability."

Films of State Conference Recordings Now Available

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) recently partnered with the University of Maryland’s Cinema and Media Studies Program to present Films of State: Moving Images Made by Governments, a virtual conference running from April 7 to 9, 2021, highlighting current scholarship on the topic of government films and filmmaking. This inaugural conference featured international … Continue reading Films of State Conference Recordings Now Available

Pioneers of Movie Piracy and the Expansion of Copyright Law

Still frame from Chicks to Order vs. still frame from Chicks Made to Order In the early days of cinema, no one knew if it was possible to copyright a movie. This sounds strange to us today, but at the time copyright law only covered written works and photographs. Is a movie like a written … Continue reading Pioneers of Movie Piracy and the Expansion of Copyright Law

Home Movie Day 2019: The Films of Harry J. Christoffers

In honor of Home Movie Day, we’re featuring a collection of home movies recently preserved by the Motion Picture Preservation Lab and providing some tips for how to care for your home movies. Home Movie Day is an annual event to raise awareness of the importance of home movies and encourage their preservation. This year’s … Continue reading Home Movie Day 2019: The Films of Harry J. Christoffers

The Supreme Court Building (Local Identifier: 64-M-54)

Toward Justice Supreme: Commemorating the Establishment of the Supreme Court

After the ratification of the United States Constitution, newly-elected senators and representatives were faced with the task of creating a functioning government based on a four-page framework. The first session of the First United States Congress, held in 1789 at Federal Hall in New York City, set about erecting many of the institutions of government … Continue reading Toward Justice Supreme: Commemorating the Establishment of the Supreme Court

(Aug. 2, 2006) The US Navy (USN) Northwest Band plays military music during the Seattle Seafair Parade of Ships in Seattle Washington (WA). The parade marks the beginning of Seafair's Fleet Week by our Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication SPECIALIST Third Class Douglas G. Morrison (RELEASED). Local Identifier: 330-CFD-DN-SD-07-09532 (https://catalog.archives.gov/id/6699020)

Summer Road Trip: Maritime Matters in Bremerton and Seattle

It’s 75 miles from Port Angeles to the City of Bremerton, Washington, the next stop on our NARA summer road trip. Our drive takes us past Discovery Bay and over the Hood Canal Bridge. We can see the Olympic Mountains in the West, prompting us to remember yesterday’s visit to Olympic National Park. As we … Continue reading Summer Road Trip: Maritime Matters in Bremerton and Seattle

Animatics and Anti-Communism: Payut Ngaokrachang Animates Hanuman for the USIA

We work on a lot of cartoons in the Motion Picture Preservation Lab. Some were made for military service members. Some were made to illustrate the dangers of drug use. But the most consistently surprising cartoons are the ones we find in the films of the United States Information Agency (USIA). During the Cold War … Continue reading Animatics and Anti-Communism: Payut Ngaokrachang Animates Hanuman for the USIA