Our Mission

Our mission is simple — to help you capture, preserve, organize and enjoy your family's most valuable memories using archival best practices, methodologies equipment and supplies, employed by FA Logo professional archivists and museum experts from around the world.


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Society of American Archivists Member Company
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What to Keep

Archival film boxes prevent home
movies from deteriorating

With the advent of digital video, many of us have left behind the films, cassettes and videos of old. But to start you're family archives project you'll need to return to those old materials to determine what you have and what you want to keep.

One of the challenges of preserving and storing video and audio recordings is that many older tapes require projectors or players that are hard to find and keep in good repair. As you're assessing the materials you have, be sure to make note of which materials you can't play with the technology currently available to you.

Start by making a list of the types of film and video you have:

  • 8mm film

  • Super-8mm film

  • 16mm film

  • 35mm film

  • Other sizes (in mm) of film

  • Videotapes (VHS, Betacam)

  • Commercially made and collectible movies

Also make a list of important audio recordings:

  • Cassette recordings

  • Reel-to-reel audio recordings

  • Minicassettes and other home audio recordings

  • Antique sound recordings (phonograph recordings, player piano reels, etc.)

  • Commercially made and collectible 8-track tapes, cassettes, CDs and vinyl records.

Once you've inventoried the types of materials you have and which of them you can and can't play, assemble all the information you can about the subject and date of each recording.

If you have some unlabeled home movies you can't view, for now you can group them together in an "unknown" pile. If you have some rough guesses about the era in which your "unknown" recordings were made, be sure to make note of that.

What NOT to keep
Like photographs, home movies and family audio recordings are usually irreplaceable and should only be discarded with extreme care. However, collections of commercially made movies or music that aren't of special sentimental value may be discarded with care. If you decide to discard some of your commercial recordings, be sure to get professional advice about the possible value of your recordings. You may be able to sell them through a local dealer or online, instead of just throwing them away or giving them to a thrift store.

Also, if you made VHS copies of your old reel-to-reel movies or cassette recordings of your vinyl records during the 1980s and 1990s, and you still have your originals, it may not be necessary to keep the VHS or cassette copies you made. That's because converting the originals to DVD provides a higher quality, more stable environment for these materials today. However, if your originals have condition issues such as discoloration, fragile or broken tape, sound distortion or other problems, your VHS copies may be worth preserving as a better record of the original.

Helpful Hint: Don't casually discard materials you can't watch or play — there may be hidden treasures and forgotten family memories. Store your "unknown" recordings until you're able to review them (See Playing/Copying Old Recordings for more information about playing old recordings.)

How to Organize Your Film & Video