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LOC Debuts its National Screening Room

Nearly 300 motion picture treasures representing a century of cinema history are now easily available through the Library of Congress’s new National Screening Room.
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Curator of the Library’s Moving Image Section, Mike Mashon shared:
The goal of this digital project is to present the public with a broad range of historical and cultural audio-visual materials that will enrich education, scholarship and lifelong learning. The National Screening Room is designed to open up the Library’s collections, making otherwise unavailable movies freely accessible to viewers nationwide and around the world.

Ranging from 1890 through 1999, the collection of fiction and nonfiction films are searchable by keyword, format, date range and location. Most of the National Screening Room’s content is in the public domain and fully downloadable. Copyrighted films, included with permissions, are available for streaming.

Among the items in the growing collection are George Gershwin’s home movies featuring celebrities of days past; such landmarks in narrative cinema as The Great Train Robberyviews of San Francisco before and after the 1906 Earthquake and fire;  as well as short films director by D. W. Griffith, including A Corner in Wheat.

You’ll also find a series of 33 mid-century newsreels from All-American News, which were produced for African-American audiences.

There’s young Frank Sinatra lecturing a group of young boys about antisemitism and racial prejudice in a musical short from 1945 featuring the classic song, The House I Live In

You’ll find the controversial 1964 Daisy Girl political advertisement which contributed to Lyndon Johnson’s landslide victory over Barry Goldwater, considered by many as a turning point in both political and advertising history. 

And there’s The Second Largest Minority, footage of one of the earliest (1968) gay pride parades in Philadelphia,

New titles will be added to the Screening Room each month. Keep an eye on this collection for its value in explorations of history, social issues, and the arts.

And the Library of Congress announcement promises instructional support for using these resources:

Mashon is also working with the Library’s team of educators to develop lesson plans for the classroom and other educational initiatives. Some primary source sets will examine the Harlem Renaissance, Industrial Revolution, Dust Bowl, Jim Crow and segregation, scientific data, Spanish-American War, World War I, Mexican-American communities, immigration, women’s history, children’s lives at the turn of the 20th century, symbols of the U.S. and many more.

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Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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