The Connecticut Historical Society Receives $24,000 Grant for Early 20th Century Film Storage

February 26, 2018 · Press Releases

The Connecticut Historical Society has received a Museums for America grant totaling more than $24,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to help fund efforts to digitize and preserve its valuable motion film collection. The grant will enable the CHS to catalog, digitize, and improve storage conditions for 73 early 20th-century motion picture films which are at a high danger of obsolescence and deterioration. The films provide insight into the lives and culture of Connecticut residents and communities and include rare footage of Red Cross parades during the WWI era, early aviation, and home movies.

The CHS will use the grant to update catalog records and digitize each film to make it available online through the Connecticut Digital Archive.  It also will be able to better meet current archival standards by transferring original films into new breathable containers placed in a newly purchased cold storage freezer.

“Proper digital preservation of film is crucial for future use and appreciation, but it is an expensive and time-consuming process,” said Jody Blankenship, CEO of the CHS. “This grant significantly helps us focus on these 73 historically important films from the early part of last century, when film and home movies were just coming into our culture. The grant also helps enhance our digital archive efforts, which ultimate make valuable visuals available to a wider audience.”

The CHS was one of 132 projects accepted by the IMLS for funding under its Collections Stewardship project category. More than 550 applications were originally submitted to the IMLS and each was peer reviewed and assessed on the merits of each project as it relates to each category.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s approximately 120,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
The Connecticut Historical Society ( is a private, not-for-profit educational organization that includes a museum, library, and the Edgar F. Waterman Research Center.  Founded in 1825, the CHS is the state’s official historical society and one of the oldest in the nation.  The CHS, a Smithsonian Affiliate, works to connect visitors to the story of Connecticut, and to help create a society that values historical perspective and understanding as essential tools in shaping communities and making informed decisions.  To accomplish that, the CHS has collected more than 4 million manuscripts, graphics, books, artifacts, and other historical materials related to Connecticut’s social, cultural, and family history – which are available to the public onsite at One Elizabeth Street in Hartford, off-site at other locations, and online.

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