Many people have some form of home movies tucked away in their entertainment center or in a box in a closet or attic. Milwaukee Home Movie Day is an opportunity to dust off those old VHS tapes, Super 8 or 16mm film reels, or other formats, get them repaired and preserved, and show them off.
Home Movie Day has been around for 20 years and is an international event held around the world, according to Shiraz Bhathena, digital archivist at UWM Libraries and one of the local organizers of the event. It’s a day when people can bring in their home media to be inspected and repaired by volunteers.
“Then the main part after that is it’s shown to everyone who attends, we give the client a microphone and they can talk about it for about 5 minutes to tell us what we see,” Bhathena explains.
Between screenings, Home Movie Day volunteers talk about tips for properly preserving and archiving your media collection. There are raffles and Home Movie Bingo for attendees to play, where game boxes are filled with people and objects you might see in a home movie, like “Christmas Tree” or “Bride.”
“There’s a big story in home movies that can’t be captured in other formats,” Bhatena says of why he thinks the event is important. “They preserve someone’s family history, it preserves the genealogy. There’s something wonderful about the moving image format, it captures real-time history in both image and sound.
Bhathena points out that Home Movie Day “is not a university event, it’s a community event. It’s a great way for everyone to come together and celebrate history, especially of our region.
Milwaukee Home Movie Day is Saturday, October 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public and takes place at Mitchell Hall at UWM (3203 N. Downer Ave.) Room B91.