The Society has actively collected moving images for the past few decades, and the holdings now number over 6.5 million feet of film and some 1,000 hours of videotape, all relating to Nebraska by virtue of their content or production. The collections reflect many genres -- from home movies to Nebraska-made "local talent" films, from public service films to daily local TV news footage -- and date from 1900 to the near past. The holdings are particularly rich in images of agriculture and ranching activities, town scenes, domestic life, Native Americans, aviation, railroads, and Nebraska businesses; home movies also contain scenes of travel destinations outside the state. This varied content makes the Society's moving image collection one of the best historical film collections in the country, and accounts for its increased notoriety and use by scholars, filmmakers, and educators throughout the world.
How to access the Moving Image Collections
At this time, very few public finding aids exist for the moving images. Some are indexed in our on-line Archival Collection Database. Otherwise, consult with the Curator of Visual and Audio Collections for help with your request. In-depth moving image research can also be performed as needed. Costs for Society staff to assist with research into the moving image collections beyond a simple consultation of existing indexes and descriptions are found in the Fees for Duplication & Special Access schedule. Beyond the 4-hour maximum, a contract researcher may accommodate customers. Contact the Curator of Visual and Audio Collections for more information.
Because of the machine-dependent nature of audiovisual materials, we cannot allow access to the delicate original moving images. We do, however, make reference copies in digital formats. These can be used in the Reference Room, or (in many cases) borrowed or even purchased. If a reference copy does not already exist, we will endeavor to make them on an "as-needed" basis.
How to obtain copies from NSHS Moving Image Collections
Copies of moving images may be obtained in a variety of formats. For duplication prices, see the Fees for Duplication & Special Access schedule. This will also tell you how long orders generally take to fill. Then, contact the Curator of Visual and Audio Collections to place your order.
If a reference master is not already available, there may be a lab service fee involved. Lab services include the examination, repair, preparation, duplication and reformatting of moving images, as well as special access to these materials through the use of equipment in the Society's Audio-Visual Lab. The Curatorial Staff can provide a bid.
Another way to use a copy of a moving image is by borrowing a preview copy. The Society will not loan out original materials. However, if reference copies of moving images exist, they may be borrowed for research and evaluation only for a period of two weeks. No permissions or licenses are given or implied with the loan of reference materials.
Other considerations in acquiring copies of moving images are shipping and handling charges, tax, and any applicable use fees for the use of moving images in some commercial and non-commercial projects. For details on use fees, see Fees for Use of Moving Images & Sound Recordings.
Contact the Curator of Visual and Audio Collections for more information