Housing the Film Collection Part II

The A-D strips were placed in each film can and left for 24 hours at room temperature. The A-D strips levels are related to the amount of acetic acid (released when acetate film decays) in the air in parts per million. The strips begin blue and will change color according to the acetic acid. Green is fair, a yellow-green means rapid degradation, and yellow is critical.

Of the 87 films in the collection, 41 of those films were checked today. Here are the statistics:

41% of the films (17) indicated green (1)

34% of the films (14) indicated yellow-green (2)

24% of the filims (10) indicated yellow (3)

There are 14 films that still need to be transferred to DVD. This will take place this month, before we place the films in the freezer.
I was surprised that there were films that had not hit their auto-catalytic point (the point at which the level of acetic acid accelerates the degradation at a faster rate) as indicated by a yellow (3) strip. I was glad to know that many of these films are in good shape. Those films that had a yellow indication are top priority, and most of them are now tucked safely away in the freezer.

The photographs below show today's work in examining the film collection.

-Mandy Altimus Pond, Archivist

This film exhibited both a high level of acetic acid and high levels of degradation in the form of shrinkage, as seen in the wrinkles of the film. This means that the emulsion holding the image is damaged and cannot be easily transferred to DVD or polyester film.


One film processed in Canton, Ohio was recently donated to the Museum. The can had a foam pad to hold the film reel in place. Unfortunately, over time this foam has disintegrated, leaving pieces on the film.


Some of the films indicated an acetic level of green (1), and are in acceptable shape to be transferred.

Color film dyes will fade at varying rates. Cyan and yellow will disappear before magenta. This film has a magenta tint, which means that the cyan and yellow have faded.


Jessica Shoemaker places a humidity indicator inside the bag containing a film can. This will allow staff to check on the humidity over time, to ensure there are no leaks in the bags, and no problems with the freezer.


This color film about the Ohio & Erie Canal has a soundtrack on the right-hand side of the film.


Films are in archival boxes, in polyethelyne bags, labeled, and safely placed in the freezer.




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