The Great Migration is a unique, ongoing digitization service program that partners the National Museum of African American History and Culture with individuals and organizations across the United States to preserve their important analog audiovisual media.
While major motion picture film and television historically lacked diverse representation, black history was instinctively being preserved in everyday home movies. Today, these personal narratives serve as an invaluable tool for understanding and re-framing black moving image history, and provide a much needed visualization of African American history and culture.
Scope and Contents:
The collection contains 39 digtized home movies, 41 digitized home videos, and 2 digitized audiotape recordings. However, as an ongoing project the scope of the collection will continue to increase over time. The scope will be updated as is appropriate.
The content of the collection consists predominantly of amateur recordings created by families to document their lives. This includes major life events, such as birthdays, as well as family vacations and holidays. Additionally, the collection includes footage produced by professionals for broadcast on television. This particular footage entered the collection through partnerships with other memory institutions.
The collection is arranged into series and item-level records. Each series corresponds to a family or organization that has participated in the Great Migration program. Each item within a series corresponds to a single piece of audiovisual media, such as a film or videotape, digitized by NMAAHC staff.
NMAAHC creates and retains digital copies, 2016-[ongoing]. Original analog materials are not retained by the museum.
Collection is available online for open research.
The Great Migration Home Movie Study Collection, is a product of and owned by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution.
Copyright for all works are retained by the creators of the original analog materials. Permissions for any use of the material may be requested from National Museum of African American History and Culture Right and Reproductions 202-633-3846.