Archive for 'preservation'
Today’s post comes from Jessie Kratz, Historian of the National Archives.
On June 24 at noon, the National Archives celebrates its anniversary with a special film event: From the Vaults: 80th Anniversary of the National Archives
If you have ever visited the National Archives in Washington, DC, you may have noticed two very, very large bronze doors that mark the original Constitution Avenue entrance to the building. Visitors enter through the Constitution Avenue entrance to view the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights as well as the many other exhibits the National Archives Museum offers.
These bronze doors stand about 37 feet, 7 inches high and are 10 feet wide and 11 inches thick. Each weighs roughly 6.5 tons. The building’s architect, John Russell Pope, understanding the national significance of the structure, sought to design a public exhibition hall of monumental proportions. As a reminder to visitors of the importance of the building’s purpose, the public exhibition hall Pope designed—the rotunda—measures 75 feet high; the bronze doors leading into the exhibition hall match that in size and character.
The doors were first opened on October 18, 1935. Then visitors to the National Archives climbed up 39 steps on Constitution Avenue and walked past two rows of giant Corinthian columns before passing through the large, motorized doors. Each morning, guards opened the doors by turning … [ Read all ]
Today’s post comes from Jessie Kratz, Historian of the National Archives. June 19 marks the 80th Anniversary of the establishment of the National Archives.
Eighty years ago on June 19, 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed legislation creating the National Archives. It was the culmination of a 25-year campaign by the historical community to create a National Archives building to house the national government’s records.
At that time, Federal records were scattered around the Washington area in inadequate and unsuitable storage facilities. They were neither organized nor accessible for public use.
Supporters of a National Archives argued that those records—the written evidence of our national life and achievements—must be preserved for future generations.
In 1926, Congress took the first major step in creating a home for the nation’s records by authorizing construction of an Archives building. It was part of a massive public buildings project to provide office space for government agencies in the Federal Triangle area of downtown Washington, DC.
The Archives building was well under way before Congress created the agency that would occupy it.
An April 1934 House Report on the bill to establish the National Archives described the situation:
The great National Archives Building on Constitution and Pennsylvania Avenues is nearing competition. The interior arrangement of shelf space, equipment, etc., providing for the custody of Government documents, is ready for consideration. Legislation
A new movie due for release next month tells the story of a special unit of Allied soldiers in Europe at the end of World War II. They were charged with finding and savings works of art and other cultural artifacts that the Nazis had seized.
Officially, this unit was called the Monuments, Fine Art, and Archives (MFA&A) section, but unofficially, they were the Monuments Men. But you don’t have to wait until the movie, also called Monuments Men, is released to learn about them. Greg Bradsher, a senior archivist and a specialist in this period in history, tells one story of the Monuments Men in the latest issue of Prologue magazine.
Bradsher is a frequent contributor to Prologue and an archivist specializing in World War II intelligence, looted assets, and war crimes.
In his article, Bradsher provides an account of how U.S. soldiers found a cache of treasures and called in the Monuments Men.
The most unusual find was a group of four caskets—with the remains of Frederick the Great, Frederick William I, and President Paul von Hindenberg and his wife. What happened to them? Bradsher has the answer.
The movie has an all-star cast: Oscar winners George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Cate Blanchett as well as Bill Murray and John Goodman. Clooney directs and is one of the producers. The film … [ Read all ]
Posted by Jim on January 22, 2014, under - Cold War, - Spies and Espionage, - World War II, preservation, Prologue Magazine, Uncategorized.
Tags: and Archives, Cate Blanchett, Fine Art, George Clooney, Greg Bradsher, Matt Damon, monuments, Monuments Men, Nazi, Prologue, Robert Edsel
Today’s post comes from Alan Walker, archivist at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland.
In my reflective moments, I think about what has kept me here at the National Archives for all this time. It couldn’t be the bone-wearying monotony of shuffling heavy cartons of records from here to there, or the tedium of changing out old information systems and learning the vagaries of new ones. No, there’s something else that gets me in the door every morning. Fasteners.
You wouldn’t think that something so trivial would hold my attention for any length of time. And yet, paper fasteners play such a vital role in our daily lives here. Consider: when researchers open boxes of records, they will see the telltale signs—the double round holes centered at the tops of the documents, the pinprick perforations in the corners. And many fasteners are still doing their duty among the records now.
It is a canon of archival preservation that fasteners are the devil’s work; capable of doing lasting and disfiguring damage to their host’s integrity, they must be removed, and forthwith. And so they are. Textual processing staff at all National Archives facilities do this every day. Perhaps gazillions of the little buggers get the boot each year; here are some Acco fasteners awaiting their fate.
My fellow staff like to collect the unusual … [ Read all ]
With a little archival magic, NARA staff bring historic films “out of the dark” and back into the public eye. This post is from Archives Specialist Marcia Kolko from the Motion Picture Sound and Audio office.
Now on a small screen near you: A movie about…movies!
NARA’s own Motion Picture, Sound and Video office and Preservation Lab recently produced “Out of the Dark: Bringing Films to Light at the National Archives.” They used Frank Capra’s classic 1944 documentary “The Negro Soldier” to present a behind-the-scenes look at the accessioning, processing, and preservation workflow for motion pictures. Follow “The Negro Soldier” from the time of its arrival at the Archives to its place on the shelf of the Research Room where it will be available to researchers both in the United States and, due to the international reach of ARC, around the globe.
To see how the Motion Picture Office and Preservation Lab preserves and protects America’s historic motion picture collection, tune in to the latest entry on NARA’s Inside the Vaults channel!
Posted by Victoria on June 18, 2012, under preservation, Rare Videos.
Tags: Audio/Video Preservation Lab, Frank Capra, Motion Picture Sound and Audio office, Out of the Dark, The Negro Soldier, YouTube