Yesterday I popped in the River Garden to see the Brattleboro exhibit we helped design with BHS, and was met with a surprise. The historical society has been given a treasure trove of old Brattleboro films.
This is a new project for them and they are just getting started. Bill Holiday explained to me that they had been given a big box of family films, and are currently in the process of having them digitized. The goal is to get 4k transfers for high-quality digital use. A few test reels were on display and they were amazing.
These home movies were taken by someone with a good camera and a tripod. They are in very good condition (at least the ones they’ve done so far).
Some of the scenes:
- footage of bands and troops marching on Main Street in a parade
- color films of sunsets and autumn leaves
- an alumni parade with high school graduates from classes of 1863-1931 marching
- acrobats and entertainers at Valley Fair
- old automobiles
- the ski jump
I was transfixed as I watched. It was the first time that I have ever seen moving pictures of old Brattleboro. After years of viewing black and white still photos, they suddenly came to life.
I’m not certain what dates the films cover, but they seem early. 1930s for sure, but maybe a bit into the adjoining decades?
I plan to keep an eye on this project. Not so far in the future, BHS will have a library of old Brattleboro movies available, which means filmmakers will have materials to work with beyond still photos when historical movies are made.
I’m guessing, too, but if you have old home movies that show interesting Brattleboro people, places, and events, I bet BHS would like to hear from you, too.
Also, if you feel like donating some money to help pay for the digitizing of this great resource, step up and let them know. You’d be doing a great service with your donation.