"Kirks' Camera," 1976, opening sequence.
"Kirks' Camera," 1976, opening sequence. - 
Listen To The Story

For this latest installment of our series My Economy, we hear from Hannah Palin, a film archive specialist at the University of Washington Library Special Collections in Seattle.

I take care of all the film and videotape that is held by my department: newsreels, home movies, educational films, some documentaries.

The Ruth and Louis Kirk Moving Image Collection was a large group of films that came to us.

You end up taking these great journeys, where, I personally, I’m probably not going to canoe through Yellowstone, and I’m not going to do that kind of hiking. But to go with them, I feel like I get to enjoy it with them.

Ruth and Louis Kirk, 1976 
Ruth and Louis Kirk, 1976  - 

The thing that I love about the work that I do is that I get to preserve a part of our past. Moving images, because they’re so new, there’s not a line-item in a lot of institutional organizations that [says] "Oh, of course we know that we need a moving image archivist." So one of the ways to fund the work that has to be done is by writing grants and looking for private funding. And that’s how I have been paid here at the University of Washington for 12 of my 15 years.

I think the thing that worries me the most about losing funding for this kind of work is that it stops the whole process. It just goes on a shelf and dies. And that knowledge dies along with it.