Film Preservation 101: This 80 Year Old Film Printer Still Contributes to Preservation

This week we celebrate the National Archives' 80th birthday. For the motion picture lab, this anniversary was an opportunity to look back to the beginnings of the organization, when the Archives was still in its teen years and William T. Cooper, Jr. posed for photographs with the Depue optical reduction film printer. The photos, taken … Continue reading Film Preservation 101: This 80 Year Old Film Printer Still Contributes to Preservation

Film Preservation 101: What are the holes on the sides of the film for?

Have you ever thought to yourself: “Those holes on the side of the film, I wonder what they’re for?” Maybe you were afraid to ask? If you think it sounds like a dumb question, let me assure you that some super-smart people have asked us this before. Today we’ll tell you not only what those … Continue reading Film Preservation 101: What are the holes on the sides of the film for?

Film Preservation 101: Is Restoration the Same as Preservation?

When you watch NARA's video for The March on YouTube the first thing you see onscreen is a note that the film was “Preserved and Restored by the National Archives.” You may wonder why we make the distinction between preservation and restoration. Aren't they the same thing? The differences between preservation and restoration are subtle, … Continue reading Film Preservation 101: Is Restoration the Same as Preservation?

The Real Monuments Men

Nestled within the Italian Alps, in the small village of San Leonardo, behind the doors of an abandoned jail cell, sat some of the world’s most cherished pieces of art. Together with a nearby repository in Campo Tures, it was estimated that the hidden artwork was worth about 500 million dollars. That was in 1945. … Continue reading The Real Monuments Men

A Moving Image “Newspaper”: Universal Newsreels at the National Archives

Before the advent of televised network news programs and the 24 hour news cycle on cable and the internet, newsreels were one of the main sources people had for news.  One of five major newsreel companies, Universal Studios produced and released newsreels which were shown in movie theaters, twice a week, from 1929 until 1967. Each release usually … Continue reading A Moving Image “Newspaper”: Universal Newsreels at the National Archives

Corsican Kids Christmas Party With the 57th Bomb Wing 1944

This post was written by guest blogger Carrie Goeringer. On December 23, 1944, weather on the island of Corsica was bleak and dreary, as it had been for most of the winter. Many of the children who lived on the island had never known a real Christmas because of the ongoing Second World War.  So, the … Continue reading Corsican Kids Christmas Party With the 57th Bomb Wing 1944

I Saw Kitty Hawk: Film, Memory, and Archives

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote about the 110th anniversary of “The Great Train Robbery,” a film that pioneered editing techniques that are so commonplace as to be invisible to viewers today and is acknowledged as the first example of modern film fiction narrative. But this wasn’t the only important innovation taking place in … Continue reading I Saw Kitty Hawk: Film, Memory, and Archives

Celebrating Aviation with Magee’s “High Flight”

“Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth . . . . Put out my hand and touched the Face of God.” You may be familiar with these lines—the first and last of John Gillespie Magee, Jr.’s 1941 sonnet “High Flight”. Many of us likely recognize them from President Ronald Reagan’s speech on the … Continue reading Celebrating Aviation with Magee’s “High Flight”

The Great Train Robbery

It’s not very often that we celebrate the 110th anniversary of a film.  When The Great Train Robbery debuted in December of 1903, Henry Ford had recently sold his first car, the Boston Americans had just won the first modern World Series, and Theodore Roosevelt was president of the United States.  Filmmaking was in its … Continue reading The Great Train Robbery

Mission: Turkey! Thanksgiving Dinner and the U.S. Military

Are you ready for Thanksgiving? If it’s your turn to cook, no doubt the next few days will be stressful. But imagine trying to cook Thanksgiving dinner for an entire ship or regiment, or being a mess sergeant tasked with cooking and bringing the meal to troops in the field. Do you know how you’re … Continue reading Mission: Turkey! Thanksgiving Dinner and the U.S. Military