November 30, 2020

Museum of African American History is freely digitizing home movies

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Old movie camera on abstract city background. Double exposure. Cinema concept. Retro filter

By David Lumb From engadget

Just make an appointment at the Washington, DC institution.

Humanity has access to more data than ever before, but there’s still so much media scattered around the world that might rot away before it can be preserved. The National Museum of African American History and Culture is launching an initiative to save some of the most precious — home movies — by digitizing, for free, any and all films that folks want to bring in to the Washington, DC institution.

The Great Migration home movie project will set up service on the museum’s second floor, and visitors can make an appointment to have their media safely stored in digital form. The team can digitize a range of formats, from 16mm and 8mm home video to obsolete tape-based mediums like MiniDV, Betacam and to audio recordings.

Home movies offer real insight into the lives of that popular films and television from the day don’t offer, the museum wrote in its post on the project:

“While major motion picture film and television historically lacked diverse representation, black history was instinctively being preserved in everyday home movies. Today, these personal narratives serve as an invaluable tool for understanding and re-framing black moving image history, and provide a much needed visualization of African American history and culture. Just as the museum explores what it means to be an American and share how American values like resiliency, optimism, and spirituality are reflected in African American history and culture; these films are a moving image record of these values in practice.”

IMAGE: peshkov via

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