My Economy: Using grants to preserve moving image history
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My Economy tells the story of the new economic normal through the eyes of people trying to make it, because we know the only numbers that really matter are the ones in your economy.
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
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.