Mining the Home Movie: Excavations in Histories and Memories

By Karen L. Ishizuka; Patricia R. Zimmermann | Go to book overview

8 The Florida Moving Image Archive
Miami, Florida

STEVEN DAVIDSON

Since its founding in 1986, the Florida Moving Image Archive, formerly known as the Louis Wolfson II Media History Center, has become one of the largest and most active moving image archives in the United States. The archive was established with a donation of over two million feet of television news film and thousands of hours of videotape from the first television station in Florida, WTVJ, which began broadcasting in 1949 and is one of the oldest in the country.

The archive’s policy is reflected in our mission to collect, preserve, and make accessible film and video materials made in or about Florida. From the beginning, we realized the importance of broadening our collection to include other types of moving image materials, particularly home movies and amateur footage. Now our ever-growing collection contains over ten million feet of film and thousands of hours of video, spanning eight decades, ranging from home movies and amateur film dating from 1910 to contemporary newscasts. These materials provide a visual record of our South Florida community, its history, culture, and development.

The fastest-growing component in the Florida Moving Image Archive is our collection of home movies and amateur films. We continually investigate, research, and acquire images. This collection is most significant for its diversity and coverage of many decades. While our television collection is among the largest in the United States and spans five decades beginning in 1949, those images tell only part of South Florida’s history. The collection’s home movies and amateur footage trace our region’s history almost forty years earlier, to around 1910. The home movies in the Florida Moving Image Archive’s collection—particularly those dating from 1910 through the 1950s—are unique because the images chronicle a relatively early time in the history of this region. Significantly, they reveal life in Southern

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