6 Tips for Caring for Your Home Videos

October is American Archives Month. Do you have home videos? Do you want to know how to preserve them? Check out (former) Curator of Audiovisual Collection Curator Paul Eisoeffel’s 6 tips on how to take care of your home videos.

  • Most importantly, videotape is not an archival medium. It’s not meant to last, but rather to be convenient to use and playback. Even when stored correctly, videotape may degrade over time, making it unplayable.
  • Have your videos transferred to a digital format by a reputable lab. This is the best way to preserve their content, and it makes it easier for you to view and share that content.
  • Store your videotapes in a cool, dry place, away from sources of fumes and water. Unfinished attics and basements are usually not good venues.
  • When viewing videotapes, avoid using the forward and reverse scan features. And always rewind the tapes to the beginning when done.
  • Describe the scenes in your videos. Get family members and friends to help if necessary. Number the videotapes and list them on separate paper. This makes sure that the content is understood by later generations.
  • Pop out the tab in the back of videotapes, to prevent accidental erasure.

Check out excerpts from the Historic Moving Image Collections on the History Nebraska YouTube channel. 

(Updated October 12, 2023)

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History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
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