Image shows crowds of people standing on each side of the new lock, as well as on the lock gates which are closed. Label on original photograph reads, "August 3, 1896. Opening of Poe Lock. At intermediate gate."

The Mighty Soo: Construction of the Locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

When the Soo Canal was completed at Sault Ste. Marie in 1855, the journey through the rapids of the St. Mary’s river went from seven weeks of arduous portaging to seven minutes through the newly constructed State Locks.1 Over the next century, four locks would be constructed, repaired, and replaced, leading to more tons of … Continue reading The Mighty Soo: Construction of the Locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

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

Film Preservation 101: Is Restoration the Same as Preservation?

This post was written by Heidi Holmstrom. Heidi works in the Motion Picture Preservation Lab, which is responsible for performing conservation and preservation work on motion picture records held across the National Archives. In this post, Heidi answers a frequently asked question. When you watch NARA's video for The March on YouTube the first thing you see … Continue reading Film Preservation 101: Is Restoration the Same as Preservation?

This Week In Universal News: New Year’s Eve, 1932

This week in Universal News, the New Year is celebrated in the United States and Cuba. 1933 would be the year that Prohibition was repealed, although the festivities evident in this story certainly do not seem lacking. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbDXtoOXjSI&feature=youtu.be From the release sheet: BIG CITIES CELEBRATE AS 1932 PASSES OUT; GAILY WELCOME 1933 Unprecedented whoppee and … Continue reading This Week In Universal News: New Year’s Eve, 1932

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

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

Getting the Message Out: Smokey Bear PSAs

In honor of Fire Prevention month, we’ll have several posts about records relating to fire prevention. In our previous post I introduced the real Smokey Bear. In addition to that film the National Archives Motion Picture Branch also holds many public service announcements (PSAs) related to forest fire prevention. They were created by the Ad … Continue reading Getting the Message Out: Smokey Bear PSAs

From Top Secret Vault to Open Stacks: Declassification of Moving Images

Have you ever wondered how moving images and sound recordings get declassified? The process isn’t as simple as you might think. Because our records are media based - film, video or audio - the review process takes a few extra steps. Agencies transfer classified moving images and sound recordings to NARA according to Records Control … Continue reading From Top Secret Vault to Open Stacks: Declassification of Moving Images

Protecting Your Past–It’s What We Do Here: The Preservation and Restoration of The March

Today’s post is from Criss Kovac. Criss is the supervisor of the Motion Picture Preservation Lab, which is responsible for performing conservation and preservation work on motion picture records held across the National Archives. Recently, she completed a digital restoration of The March. The March, the James Blue film documenting the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs … Continue reading Protecting Your Past–It’s What We Do Here: The Preservation and Restoration of The March

Preserving Curious Alice

We discussed Curious Alice in a previous blog post and explained why, although it’s beautifully animated and contains some fantastic imagery, it fails at communicating an anti-drug message. Read on to find out how we preserved this title! In the Motion Picture Preservation lab, we’re enthralled by the film preservation stories that make headlines just … Continue reading Preserving Curious Alice