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IWM five-year digitisation project – Cold War era collections

Clips from MGH 4697 and MGH 4908 are featured in the showreel and will be viewable on IWM Film very soon. Click the screen to view the film.

The Imperial War Museum in the UK is embarking on five-year digitisation project to preserve Cold War era collections

This unique selection of rarely-seen footage from the IWM film archive shows military operations and off-duty scenes from Aden, now part of Yemen. In 2020 IWM initiated Digital Futures, a five year project to digitise 1.8 million films, photographs and sound recordings and improve the storage and halt the degradation of 6.8 million items by freezing, isolating or refrigerating them. This mass preservation project is digitising some of our most vulnerable and at risk media from the Cold War era.

• Digital Futures focussed its initial efforts on small gauge film: 9.5mm, 8mm and Super 8mm. These narrower film gauges were generally associated with amateur or non-professional filmmaking due to their low-cost and the flexibility of the camera and projection equipment which could easily be carried in a suitcase. Service personnel, often officers, had these small cameras with them when they went overseas and used them to film their experiences of military life. This rarely-seen colour footage provides a personal point of view and records intimate moments and events connected to conflict. 

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