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Preserving home movies as history is subject of U. of I., national events

Andrea Lynn, Humanities Editor


rendering of mother holding a movie camera with two children on a merry-go-round in the background
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The first “Home Movie Day” at the U. of of I. on Aug. 12 will address a host of issues pertaining to the preservation of home movies.  

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — If getting people to watch your home movies is like herding cats, maybe the problem isn’t your content, but rather, the physical quality of your movies.

If that’s the case, help is on the way during an upcoming event at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The first “Home Movie Day” Aug. 12 (Saturday) will address a host of issues pertaining to the preservation of home movies.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held 1 to 5 p.m. in Studio X of Campbell Hall for Public Telecommunication, 300 N. Goodwin Ave., Urbana.

The purpose of the event is to emphasize the importance of preserving film, and specifically home movies, as historic documents in the life of the culture and the family, say Annette Morris and Jimi Jones, event coordinators. Morris is brittle books coordinator in the University Library and Jones is a student in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science.

The University Library and WILL-AM-FM-TV are co-sponsoring the event, which is being held in conjunction with the national event.

During Home Movie Day, library staff will assess, inspect, clean and project home movies in 8mm and 16 mm formats. Specialists also will be on hand to discuss preservation issues and techniques.

Snippets of historic films from the University Archives also will be shown, including scenes from a period film with U. of I. legend Red Grange playing football, appearances by John F. Kennedy when he visited the campus, a short interview with Eleanor Roosevelt when she was at the U. of I., and other events featuring Illinois and its students.

Popcorn and beverages will be served.

The organizers request that participants drop off their films at the WILL building a day or two before the event so that experts will have time to inspect and clean films for projection on Saturday.

Morris and Jones can be contacted at and, respectively. Jack Brighton at WILL can be contacted at

Home Movie Day began in 2003, the inspiration of the Center for Home Movies, a private not-for-profit corporation dedicated to the preservation, study and promotion of home movies and amateur films.

Some four-dozen locations around the United States and 11 international locations, including six in Japan, have signed on to celebrate the day this year.

In Illinois, the Chicago Cultural Center and the Orland Park Public Library also are participating.