Gettysburg: Civil War Monuments, Nuclear Arsenals, and Dreams of Peace

The Battlefield at Gettysburg is primarily known for two things.  First, over three days, July 1 through July 3, 1863 the bloodiest battle of the Civil War took place there.  Second, it was the site of The Gettysburg Address, the famous speech that President Abraham Lincoln delivered four and a half months after the battle on … Continue reading Gettysburg: Civil War Monuments, Nuclear Arsenals, and Dreams of Peace

Film Preservation 101: Scratch Hazards and Fixes

For those working with archival films, encountering film scratches is just part of the job. At the National Archives we care for films that range from pristine camera negatives with not a scratch to be seen, all the way to beat-up projection prints that look like they were rubbed with sandpaper. Scratches can be black … Continue reading Film Preservation 101: Scratch Hazards and Fixes

Record of a Homecoming: Preserving Interviews with Doug Clower and John McCain

This post was written by Criss Kovac. Criss is the supervisor of the Motion Picture Preservation Lab. Sometimes you just never know what you’re going to find in a can, or in this case, four cans. What I did know is that it wasn’t going to be good, at least physically, because I could smell … Continue reading Record of a Homecoming: Preserving Interviews with Doug Clower and John McCain

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”

Film Preservation 101: Why are old films sometimes pink?

Film Preservation 101 is an occasional series in which we answer our most frequently asked questions. Please submit your  burning questions about film preservation in the comments below! What is Color Fading? Why are old films sometimes pink? The simple answer is color fading. This might seem a little confusing, since it looks like the film … Continue reading Film Preservation 101: Why are old films sometimes pink?

An Update on Kodacolor Decoded

This post was written by Criss Kovac. Criss is the supervisor of the National Archives' Motion Picture Preservation Lab. You might remember a fun little post last summer about the Yellowstone Kodacolor discovered within a National Park Accession deposited with NARA in 2012. The Yellowstone Kodacolor is one 453’ reel of 16mm “reversal.”  An early … Continue reading An Update on Kodacolor Decoded

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

Photographs Relating to the Marshall Plan and Post-WWII Economic Recovery in France

In 1973 the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) transferred to the National Archives approximately 31,000 negatives and corresponding prints created by the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA) and its successor, the Mutual Security Agency (MSA), to document economic recovery in Western Europe after World War II under the Marshall Plan. After processing, this accession became … Continue reading Photographs Relating to the Marshall Plan and Post-WWII Economic Recovery in France

Home Movies from the War Front: The First Fighters in New Guinea

This post was written by Criss Kovac. Criss is the supervisor of the National Archives Motion Picture Preservation Lab.  Home movies aren’t usually thought of as a rarity – especially these days as we happily capture our kids, friends, families, and pets on our smartphones-- but home movies taken during war on the front lines are … Continue reading Home Movies from the War Front: The First Fighters in New Guinea

Introducing The Unwritten Record!

Today we’re debuting our new name! From now on, the blog of the National Archives’ Special Media Services Division will be known as The Unwritten Record. We’ll feature the same great content—film, photographs, videos, sound recordings, and other non-textual records from the National Archives’ holdings-- just with a new and improved name! Media Matters was fine, … Continue reading Introducing The Unwritten Record!