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News createt: 26-08-2010

Huge Archive Video Collection Going Public

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For as long as Channel 7 has existed, we've been saving and archiving our video. Which means we now have more than 26,000 hours of Arkansas history. Now that visual history is one step closer to being at your fingertips.

On Wednesday, President of Allbritton Communications, KATV's parent company, Fred Ryan presented a ceremonial first videotape to University of Arkansas Chancellor David Gearhart. It's the first of some 26-thousand tapes that date back to the 1950's.

"There's nothing like this collection in this country," said former US Senator David Pryor. "There's nothing like it. There's nothing that resembles what we have here today."

From the Central High crisis to Elvis Presley getting his hair cut at Fort Chafee to memorable sports moments to presidential visits. It is a visual record of history.

"It is a treasure trove of material," says U of A Chancellor David Gearhart. "And we are very honored that we are going to be the organization that gets to care for this collection, gets to digitize it and gets to make it available to all Arkansans and all people everywhere.

The tapes will be housed at the Arkansas State Library in downtown Little Rock. They will be cataloged and digitized before being sent to the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History at the U of A.

Governor Mike Beebe calls it a history lesson for us and future generations. "I think this will have a huge impact on us today and a huge impact on all of them tomorrow in a way that can't do anything but help us be a better people, a better state, and indeed a better nation.

The tapes will be loaded into trucks and moved to the state library starting on Saturday.