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March / April 2005


Film Gone Digital: How a Foundation Trustee's Home Movies
Created New Opportunities for the Nebraska State Historical Society

By Paul Eisloeffel, Curator of Visual and Audio Collections

Paul Eisloeffel
Paul Eisloeffel, curator, works with new equipment
purchased through a gift to the Foundation.

Cans of film in the Society's collection
The Nebraska State Historical Society's moving image holdings
represent one of the finest regional collections you'll find anywhere. Hundreds of thousands of feet of motion picture film, dating from the early 1900s to the near past, run the gamut from locally made theatrical releases to amateur "home movie" footage, from TV station news film to public service films and political advertisements.

One of the problems inherent with moving image collections is how to provide access. Films are what we call "machine dependent" documents­that is, we can't access their content with just our hands and our eyes, as we can with traditional documents such as letters, diaries, and still photographs. Instead, we have to rely on machines to "play" the films. And the best solution for access is to create "surrogates," thereby keeping use of the originals to a minimum and assuring their longevity. These days such surrogates are, more often than not, digital.

The Historical Society has long been equipped to inspect and repair moving images. We've even been able to make crude video copies of many films. But until recently, the leap to the digital realm had eluded us.

About two years ago, a Foundation trustee mentioned to Society audio-visual curator Paul Eisloeffel that she had some vintage home movies of her own early years dating back to the 1920s, and was interested in having DVDs created from them. After a visit with Paul, the two struck a deal: In exchange for putting the movies onto DVD, she would help outfit the Society's A/V lab with the means to digitize moving images. Included in the improvements were a new multimedia computer, digital capture and editing software, a digital camcorder, and several other pieces of equipment that have helped Paul work with the Society's moving images, both before and after they are digitized.

The gift was engineered through the Historical Society Foundation.

But the trustee's interest and support of the Society's moving image collections did not stop there. From Paul she learned that motion picture film requires storage conditions that differ from those needed for other types of documents, and that individual reels of film may exhibit signs of deterioration that require even more specialized treatment.

The trustee has since funded another project that will help address the long-term storage needs of the Society's moving image and sound recording holdings. With the help of interns hired through her support, Paul is now shifting the holdings to make more efficient use of the available storage space, and is analyzing the specific preservation needs of many of the films in the collections to pursue funding for the supplies needed to properly house and store all of the moving images.

Thanks to the interest and help of private support, this important and unique collection will not only become more useable, but will survive into the future. For more information contact Paul Eisloeffel at the NSHS Library/Archives Division at 402-471-4750.

Members Receive 10 Percent Discount at the NSHS Museum Stores

In early spring Nebraska weather can be cool and rainy. This might be a good time to curl up indoors with a good book­and many good books are available through the NSHS museum stores.

Don't forget to take advantage of your 10 percent members-only discount at all museum stores and on catalog purchases. If you can't visit a store in person, you can explore the catalog online and download an order form to mail with your payment. Just go to www.nebraskahistory.org, click the "Museum Store," and begin shopping. If you don't have Internet access, call Jennifer or Therese, toll-free, at 888-515-3535 or 402-435-3535 and request a museum store catalog by mail.

History Mystery
Third Annual Lincoln History Mystery, May 20, 2005

This year, teams will hunt for clues in Lincoln's historic Haymarket. This is a unique educational event that is loads of fun, and monies raised support special projects of the Nebraska State Historical Society where other funding is not available. Join us for this year's History Mystery on Friday, May 20, and be prepared to be a bit unscrupulous as you solve the clues! Visit www.nebraskahistory.org and find information in the Foundation tab or contact the Foundation at 402-435-3535.

Your Gift to the Foundation Can Help Your Tax Bill

Will you have a tax bill this year? Start planning now to save money on your next year's income taxes by making a gift to the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation.

You can substantially lower your tax liability, increase your current income, and avoid probate with your gift to the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation. Indeed, your charitable gift to the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation is worth even more to you now than in most years past.

Here are some ways you can use your gift to the NSHSF to significantly reduce your federal AND state income taxes, while at the same time providing important support for Nebraska history:

For further information please contact Jackie Spahn at the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation.

Contact Information:

Jackie Spahn, Executive Director
Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation
Kinman-Oldfield Suite 1010
128 North 13th Street
Lincoln, NE 68508-1565

Ph: 402-435-3535
Toll Free: 888-515-3535
Fax: 402-435-3986


2004-05 Foundation Board of Directors

Allison D. Petersen, Walton, President
Steven E. Guenzel, Lincoln, Executive Vice President
Jack D. Campbell, Lincoln, Vice President
C. John Guenzel, Lincoln, Treasurer
Joanne F. Shephard, Valentine, Secretary

James C. Creigh, Omaha
Bruce M. Frasier, Omaha
Martha Greer, Lincoln
Dr. James W. Hewitt, Lincoln
Dr. William F. Karrer, Omaha
Dr. Frederick C. Luebke, Lincoln
Carol Maddux, Wauneta
Dr. Martin A. Massengale, Lincoln
John D. Massey, Scottsbluff
George H. Moyer, Jr., Madison
James F. Nissen, Lincoln
Andrew D. Strotman, Lincoln
John W. Webster, Omaha
Dr. John Wunder, Lincoln

Patrick Kennedy, Omaha, NSHS President, Ex-officio
Margaret Allington, Lincoln, NSHS Treasurer, Ex-officio
Lawrence J. Sommer, Lincoln, NSHS Director, Ex-officio

January / February 2005

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Last updated 11 February 2005

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