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Rock Hall hosts Film & Video Preservation Day July 7th: A Q&A with Jennie Thomas

Updated: Feb 25

This Saturday, July 7, 2018, from 12:00 to 5:00 pm, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Library & Archives and NEO Sound will be hosting Film & Video Preservation Day, an opportunity for residents of Northeast Ohio to bring in their home movies to be digitized and potentially added to the Rock Hall's permanent collection.


Jennie Thomas, Director of Archives, was able to take time out for a quick Q&A about this exciting music preservation initiative. Thank you, Jennie! -Sheryl


Sheryl: Film & Video Preservation Day is a wonderful idea that communities everywhere can draw inspiration from in preserving their local music history! How did it come about? 

Jennie: Our Audiovisual Archivist Shannon Erb had previously done Home Movie Day programming, which seemed to tie-in perfectly with our NEO Sound local music preservation initiative, and the photograph and document Scan Days we did in 2016. We modeled Film & Video Preservation Day on our Scan Days, where community members bring historic materials to us, we digitize them at archival preservation standards, and then provide participants with a free copy. If the materials fit our collecting policy, we also gave them the opportunity to donate either the digital copies or originals to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, to become part of our permanent collection. We also take the opportunity to teach folks a little bit about preservation of these materials; providing them with a zine we created of tips and tricks for preservation at home. The culmination of Film & Video Preservation Day will be a Home Movie Day event, where we’ll create a film from clips of all the content we receive, which will screen in the Foster Theatre at the Museum on Saturday, October 20, 2018 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. We were very lucky to receive an Ohio History Fund grant to help fund both Film & Video Preservation Day and Home Movie Day events.


Sheryl: Beyond specific artists or events, are there any venues or other popular music-related landmarks in particular that this local music preservation initiative is especially looking to capture on film and video?  Jennie: I’d be thrilled if we were able to get more footage of 1960s British Invasion bands first coming through Cleveland. Most of those shows took place at Public Hall or Music Hall. We have some amazing photographs of the Rolling Stones and the Who; we have incredible 8mm silent film of the Beatles, so to expand upon those materials would be fantastic. If someone walked in with film from any of the local jazz or R&B clubs from the 1950s or 1960s, that would be really special.


Click on the image below to watch the Film & Video Preservation Day trailer:



Sheryl: Do you have a personal wishlist of items you're hoping will come through the door on July 7th? If so, could you share a few of them? Jennie: I don’t really have a wishlist. One of the most meaningful aspects of Scan Days—beyond the great photos and handbills and programs we were able to add to our collections—was the relationships we built with community members, to introduce them to what we do and why, and how we do it, and to help them figure out the best way to preserve their own collections. We’ve had a number of people come back to us with follow-up questions about preservation, and more materials to either digitize or donate since we held Scan Days—and I’d definitely like to see the same sort of thing happen with Film & Video Preservation Day.

Sheryl: From your unique perspective as Director of Archives, is there anything you would like to communicate to interested Northeast Ohio community members about Film & Video Preservation Day that's not been included in event promotions? Jennie: I want the local music community to know how much the Rock Hall values the history of the Northeast Ohio popular music scene and acknowledges it as an integral part of a comprehensive history of rock and roll—from Leo’s Casino, to the Pretenders, to Lighthouse and the Whaler—and that the materials that members of the community have saved for the past 60-70 years documenting this scene are important to us, whether they’re donating those materials to us, or we’re simply helping them to preserve collections on their own.

Sheryl: Has a working inventory or special collection of Northeast Ohio popular music landmarks been established as a result of the NEO Sound - Library + Archives collaboration or, if not, is this a future goal? Jennie: We all have a working list in our heads, of historic venues and other landmarks that are an important part of the Northeast Ohio popular music story. As we continue to build on NEO Sound, I’d definitely like to see us do something with that information, but what it will be, I’m not sure.


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Reservations are recommended to ensure shorter wait times. Contact the Library and Archives at (216) 515-1993 or homemovies@rockhall.org to schedule an appointment or to discuss your film and video with archivists. Of particular interest are self-recorded films and videos of Northeast Ohio acts, national acts featured at local venues and other important or historical music events captured locally by community members. Several formats are being accepted including 8mm film, Super 8mm film, 16mm film, Super 16mm film, Betacam, Digital8, DV, DVCAM, DVCPRO, DVD, HDCAM, HDV, Hi8, MiniDV, U-matic and VHS.


WATCH: Andy Leach, Senior Director of Library & Archives, talks to Cleveland.com about Film & Video Preservation Day:



© 2020 by Sheryl Davis.