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?

Disaster Strikes the National Archives: The 1978 Nitrate Vault Fire

This post was written by Andrew Smith and first posted to the National Archives Internal Collaboration Network. Andrew was a records analyst at NARA before departing for another agency. Explosions at the Federal Center Around noon on December 7, 1978, staff of the National Archives and Records Service (NARS) were eating lunch inside the offices … Continue reading Disaster Strikes the National Archives: The 1978 Nitrate Vault Fire

“The Camera Tells the Truth”: Camera Rolls from the Battle of Tarawa

Five days before Thanksgiving 1943, American forces bombarded a tiny, Japanese-held island in the Tarawa Atoll. Eighteen thousand Marines would land on the shores of Betio, and over 1,000 would lose their lives there. On November 23rd, the United States claimed victory. Recording the Battle Three men of the 2nd Marine Division landed on Betio … Continue reading “The Camera Tells the Truth”: Camera Rolls from the Battle of Tarawa

Captured on Film: Armistice Day 1918

This Veterans Day, November 11th, is the 100th anniversary of the armistice of World War I. The armistice was not an official surrender by Germany, which would come several months later with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, but was essentially the beginning of the end of the war. The Great War, as it is … Continue reading Captured on Film: Armistice Day 1918

Home Movie Day 2018: Henry Ford’s Home Movies

In honor of Home Movie Day, we’re featuring the home movies of Henry Ford. Home Movie Day is an annual event to raise awareness of the importance of home movies and encourage their preservation. This year’s Home Movie Day is Saturday, October 20th, but your local event may be held at any time throughout the … Continue reading Home Movie Day 2018: Henry Ford’s Home Movies

An “Illuminating Post”: Silent Stars Support the Third and Fourth Liberty Loan Campaigns

From the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol Building, the next time you are out and about exploring Washington, D.C. and taking in as many memorials, monuments, and museums as you can, I have a suggestion for your sightseeing list.  Although located next to a familiar residence on Pennsylvania Avenue, I doubt the spot I am … Continue reading An “Illuminating Post”: Silent Stars Support the Third and Fourth Liberty Loan Campaigns

Summer’s Last Hurrah

Labor Day is quickly approaching, and with it, the unofficial end of summer. But, the long weekend allows for one last chance to enjoy summer pastimes, such as a trip to the fair, amusement park, or beach. If you are looking for ways to spend your Labor Day weekend, look no further, here are some … Continue reading Summer’s Last Hurrah

Protest Camps in D.C.: The Poor People’s Campaign and the Bonus Army Marchers

Washington, D.C. is no stranger to protests. Most are one-day affairs, consisting of a march or rally with some speakers and a musical guest or two. A handful, though, have been more long term, with protestors spending days or weeks camped out in our nation’s capital to fight for their cause. Two of the most … Continue reading Protest Camps in D.C.: The Poor People’s Campaign and the Bonus Army Marchers

Now Showing: George Washington Carver on Kodachrome

One of our Motion Picture Preservation Lab staff identified a remarkable film in a recent accession of audiovisual material from the National Park Service (NPS). The film features amateur footage of George Washington Carver, the famed African-American botanist and inventor who taught for decades at Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) in Alabama. During his time … Continue reading Now Showing: George Washington Carver on Kodachrome

Memphis Belle: The 75th Anniversary of the 25th Mission

This post was written by Criss Kovac. Criss is the supervisor of the Motion Picture Preservation Lab. The statistics were overwhelmingly against them.  With a million German troops and 40,000 anti-aircraft guns waiting the odds were roughly 50-50 they’d make it home alive.  Completing 25 bombing runs lowered those odds to less than 25%.  Not to … Continue reading Memphis Belle: The 75th Anniversary of the 25th Mission