FREQUENTLY (AND LIKELY TO BE) ASKED QUESTIONS
The Library of Congress has acquired the film collection held until now by Prelinger Archives. The acquisition and movement of materials is currently in progress (August 2002).
This FAQ is intended to answer basic questions about the acquisition. It's written by Rick Prelinger, reflects only his and Prelinger Archives' perspectives and opinions, and is not a statement by or on behalf of the Library of Congress.
What is the background of this acquisition?
Organized in late 1982, Prelinger Archives has grown to include approximately 48,000 completed films and over 30,000 cans of unedited footage. In the 1990s, Rick began searching for a permanent home for the collection, acting out of his conviction that cultural assets were ultimately better off residing in public archives than in private or for-profit collections. He also felt that a small company such as Prelinger Archives wasn't fully able to mobilize the resources necessary to properly care for, catalog and preserve a large and continually growing collection (currently over 140,000 cans and reels of film). Discussions began with the Library of Congress and culminated in a handshake agreement in February 2002, followed by a written agreement in August 2002.
On Monday, August 12, contract movers for the Library began moving the films from Prelinger's main storage facility, located in New York's historic wholesale meat market district, where the archives have been held since 1985. Material held in Kansas City was moved one week later, and a small amount of film remaining in California, New Jersey, and New York will be moved in the autumn. Paper records, indexes and an updated database of much of the collection will also be given to the Library at that time.
Where are the actual films being held?
The film collection is presently stored in a contract facility along with certain other Library collections. Within several years, it will be moved to the Library's new storage and preservation facility, currently under construction in Culpeper, Virginia, where initial processing and conservation work will occur.
How is the Prelinger collection currently accessible, and how will this be changing?
At this time, there are several access alternatives:
First and easiest, online access to 1120 (soon to be 1500) key titles through the