We are excited to launch a new biweekly blog series called “Meet a Member.” AASLH has 5,500 fascinating members working hard for the field of history, and we want to show them off. We will feature one organization and one individual each month.
The Texas Archive of the Moving Image (TAMI)
Member of AASLH since 2010
AASLH Leadership in History Award Winner (2010)
Tell us about TAMI.
The Texas Archive of the Moving Image is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization working to discover, preserve, provide access to, and educate the community about Texas’ film heritage. TAMI’s ever-growing online collection includes home movies, amateur films, advertisements, local television, industrial and corporate productions, as well as Hollywood and internationally produced moving images of Texas. By partnering with institutions and individuals across the state, TAMI digitizes and provides web access to thousands of moving images that offer insight to Texas’ history and culture. TAMI’s educational programs promote the sharing of Texas moving images via screenings, demonstrations, and lectures at venues across the state.
TAMI hosts an online collection where thousands of Texas films can be watched. We also create web exhibits that present deeply researched collections of films surrounding a single topic to the public, telling the story of the selected topic’s effect on Texan lives. Additionally, we devote an entire section of our website to educators, where you can find lesson plans and classroom activities that use our films as primary sources and are free for K-12 teachers to use in the classroom.
When and why was TAMI founded?
TAMI was founded in 2002 by film archivist and University of Texas at Austin professor Dr. Caroline Frick. Films and videotapes are not made to last. Over 50% of Hollywood movies made before 1950 are now lost; for Texas-produced materials, statistics are estimated closer to 90%. Film and videotape are susceptible to humidity and heat, two staples of Texas’ climate, so our institution works to rescue Texas’ film heritage and preserve it for the public before the physical objects are lost to decomposition, environmental conditions, or simple neglect.
Tell us about your staff and volunteers.
TAMI is operated by a small team of awesome contractors, and we always have a great team of graduate student interns volunteering with us each semester across all departments. We currently have eight interns, all of whom are enrolled in either the University of Texas’ School of Information or Radio-Television-Film program.
What does an AASLH membership mean for TAMI? How has your membership better facilitated your practice of history?
AASLH has provided us with a great network of other institutions that are as passionate about state history as we all are as well as a network of other professionals working in small institutions. We value the insights gained through the work of our peers within the organization. AASLH has also given us awards for our Texas Film Round-Up program, which brought attention the Round-Up program, our other programs, and our website. We are very proud of our association with AASLH.
Why is history important to TAMI?
As stated by Carol Kammen in History News, “History is a way of assessing change of place, of looking at people’s experiences now and their memories of what has happened, of what they have lived through and what events meant to them. Those of us in public history provide a way to remember and help people discern meaning in their own times” (History News, Autumn 2011, pp. 3-4. Free PDF of the article.) This statement is especially relevant for TAMI, an institution that collects and interprets a unique type of historical document (films and particularly home movies) and works with very personal histories.
What is happening or upcoming at TAMI?
We just wrapped up a Texas Film Round-Up in Fort Worth and held a very successful screening event on the Texas State Capitol grounds in partnership with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. We have another Round-Up coming up this spring in Bastrop County where we hope to collect films from individuals and institutions in Bastrop, Elgin, Smithville, and everywhere in between. We will debut a new web exhibit on February 1, Journey to the Moon through Texas, about the Apollo missions and Johnson Space Center. The exhibit will feature many unique and rare films documenting Texas’ role in the Apollo program.
These answers, from TAMI’s Managing Director Madeline Moya,were edited for length and clarity. Want to be featured? Email Hannah Hethmon for more information. Click here to read about more featured members. Not a member? Click here to learn more about the benefits of an AASLH membership.