My first month at Northeast Historic Film

Apr
6
Submitted by beminner

I've been here at Northeast Historic Film for just over a month now and it's been a really exciting and invigorating few weeks. I arrived at Northeast Historic Film after eight years in the public library world, and while there is much overlap between the work of public libraries and the work of the film archive, there are some refreshing differences too. For one thing we have an office dog, who I adore! More importantly, the work of the archives tends to happen behind closed doors rather than playing out in the public sphere of a library. So, one of our challenges is to make meaningful connections between our work and our collections and the people who seek the information contained within. Luckily for us, our collections span genres from home movies to news footage to advertisements to commercial film endeavors, so there's something for everyone. And our constituents are varied too. Academic researchers regularly use our collections but so do film makers, students of all ages and everyday people who love history or art or are researching their family's story in New England. Bringing to light the work of any archives is part of the challenge but also part of the fun. I've got some new ideas on ways to get our collections more visible to the public so stay tuned!

One of the best parts about working at Northeast Historic Film is getting to know the collection and watching some of our films. If you haven't checked out our YouTube channel, you should. There are also some wonderful clips on our website, with more to come soon. Of course, much of the work we do here will never appear on our website or YouTube channel because the film belongs to individuals and families who bring their home movies to us for digital transfer. It's so touching to see what people recorded and how they did it. There are all the things you would expect, tee-ball games and children's dance recitals, but there are other things too like babies being born and mundane but beautiful shots of family elders. It's fascinating, really, and it's an important service we provide here. And, just like when I was librarian and people would hand me their books to return while I was shopping at the grocery store, I've now had someone hand me a VHS tape of their school play from 1981to be transferred so he could show his children.

Of course, what really makes an organization special are the people, and this place is full of some the smartest, nicest people I know. The staff have been so kind and patient with me as I learn my way around here and even when I ask them the same questions multiple times, they respond with grace and humor. Northeast Historic Film, the Alamo Theatre and the people who make it all happen are true treasures. The archives and the theatre are beloved institutions here in Maine and beyond, and I feel so fortunate to be a part of the next chapter of this place. I hope you will stop in and say hello soon! Or, if you're reading this from afar, send me an email anytime at brook@oldfilm.org