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Your Home Movies


[Basement Party, ca. 1962] – Orphan film.

Your family films are important, and not just to you.

The Center for Home Movies advocates the preservation of films within the household. Often called “family films,” home movies are likely to have their greatest meaning for immediate family members. Even if no one in the family currently takes an interest in these personal documents, a future spouse or child may find them of enormous significance.

In addition, you may be surprised to learn that your home movies can hold great interest for a much wider public, including local historians, international scholars, and artists. Popular celebrities or historic events that appear in your films would be obvious examples, but in fact it is the record of normal human beings being themselves in everyday circumstances that may be of most historical value. Imagine how our knowledge would be enriched if we had original movies of home life in the 1700s or 1850s, whatever the circumstance of the subjects! In a hundred years, and even today, your home movies will contain unique and precious documentation of a way of life – from the cut of fashionable clothing to the eroding contours of a beach. The mere backgrounds in your films may be of historical interest, even if the main subject is out of focus or making a silly face. And home movies can offer a real-world comparison to the fictionalized versions of our history conveyed through popular films and television programs.

Explore the topics in this section to gain a greater understanding of the potential historical and cultural value of your home movies,  as well as guidance for caring for them and options for having them transferred to more easily-viewable modern formats.