Preservation work at the museum

Well, its almost the end of June, and I expected to have news to report about the CDF/CalFire Museum’s 2019 submissions to the State Library film digitization project by now. Although we were able to turn in all our materials in February before the coronavirus shutdowns hit, nothing moved any further in the work chain until the end of April, so they are at least 2 months behind in the project. Some of the printed items and still photos we’ve submitted are still in storage at the State Library and haven’t even started the process. We are still in the works to submit another round of motion picture film for 2020, but it looks like we won’t be seeing our restored versions of Countdown to Calamity and Campaign Fire anytime soon. In the meantime – you can enjoy these small appetizers of CDF Film history to tide us all over. We sent these small home movie reels out privately to a local vendor before we knew about the State Library project, to test the prices and capabilities of color restoration. The clips appear to be from the late 40s & 50s. I have edited most of the interesting parts together into one longer (20 mins) compilation. Click Here to link to the old CDF Vintage film compilation movie, and Enjoy.

I have also refreshed the links to existing movies digitized and available online from other sources, as we update our inventory and prioritize what’s next in the pipeline…

In other news, our 2020 Cataloging project is underway headed up by archival consultant Andrea Geyer and grad student Colin Burch. We applied (and received) a grant for small libraries and non-profits through the State Library’s California Revealed project. Andrea describes the project this way:

“The main focus and purpose for this specific grant is to properly inventory and re-house a good majority of the CalFire Museum’s collection, in order to prepare it for cataloging and proper accessioning into the museums database. Once all these steps are taken in suitable order, then the museum’s holdings will be efficiently searchable and research friendly. My goal for this project is to see the CDF Museum on the path to having their collection sorted, cataloged and properly stored for further use. This will make exhibiting many of the wonderful resources they have easier and also protect the collection for future use.”

As you may know, the Museum has been accepting and collecting items for over 15 years. Most of those donations have been individually kept in small collections with the donors information. The grant will also provide funding for archival-quality supplies to protect and preserve our photos, documents and other artifacts while also giving us the opportunity to store them more efficiently in bulk containers after properly identifying and recording the contents. It may look a bit messy now, but we can’t wait to come back new and improved… and searchable!