Boston Stations Team Up to Collect Historical Footage

By Merrill Knox 

Boston’s WGBH has more than 750,000 hours of historical footage in an archives vault — everything from visits to the city by Fidel Castro and Martin Luther King, Jr., to protest footage of President Barack Obama outside Harvard University in 1990.

Now, the area PBS station has begun the ambitious project of digitizing some of its most famous clips, taking the footage from their current format of tapes and film canisters — which deteriorate over time — and putting the collection online, The Boston Globe reports. The finished product will include historical footage from several other Boston stations, including WCVB, the area ABC affiliate, and WHDH, the area NBC affiliate.

WGBH did not get the collections directly from the stations — instead, the PBS station obtained them from non-profit groups that have housed archival film from WHDH and WCVB. “When we proposed the project, the only historical collections known were the WHDH, WCVB, and WGBH materials,’’ said Karen Cariani, director of WGBH media library and archives. “We thought it made sense to start with those, and then expand to include the other stations as interest in the project grew.”

After the jump, sample video clips from WGBH.