October is American Archives Month. To help celebrate and educate, (former) Curator of Audiovisual Collections Paul Eisloeffel has created 5 tips to help you care for your home movie films
- Store your films in a cool, dry place, away from sources of fumes and water. Unfinished attics and basements are usually not good venues.
- If possible, don’t view them on a projector. Projectors can put a lot of strain on a film, especially on the sprocket holes. Use a tabletop viewer if possible.
- Have your films transferred to a digital format by a reputable lab. This makes it easier for you to view and share the content of the films. Make sure the lab inspects, cleans and repairs the films before transfer. However, if you do this, don’t dispose of the original film – stored properly, the film will long outlast digital media.
- Describe the scenes in your films. Get family members and friends to help if necessary. Number the reels and list on separate paper. This makes sure that the content is understood by later generations.
- Consider offering your home movies to an archives, library or museum. Depending on their content, your films may be useful to preserving local history.
(Updated October 12, 2023)