Preserving Audio/Video Archive

More than six million film and recording artifacts have a new home on a hillside in Culpeper.

The National Audio-Visual Conservation Center was officially turned over to the Library of Congress on Thursday. The three-building complex brings together the entire library's scattered recordings and staff from Capitol Hill, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Ohio.

The items include footage of Charlie Chaplin's movies, the original negatives from "Casablanca," a complete set of Ed Sullivan's variety shows and footage of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's speech after the Pearl Harbor attack.

The oldest moving image in the collection is a five-second kinetoscope movie of a sneeze, made by Thomas Edison in 1894.

A key mission of the center is to transfer unique historical images and sounds from fragile cylinders, tapes or films to digital files.

The son of the co-founder of Hewlett-Packard donated $155 million for the center and Congress appropriated $82 million.


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