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Library of Congress Film Collection Finds Home in Nuclear Bunker

Photo from Architects of the Capital. LOC
Photo from Architects of the Capital. LOC

Built in 1969 during the height of the Cold War, an underground facility in Culpepper, Virginia called Mount Pony used to house pallets of U.S. currency, food, rations and assorted other items to survive a nuclear war. The facility is “radiation hardened” with a two – four foot earth roof and lead lined window shutters.”

With the end of the Cold War, the government gave the now empty facility to the Library of Congress and with a little remodeling that included “90-miles of shelving”, they turned the bunker into a state of the art storage building for  “film preservation, where experts archive multiple petabytes of A/V material each year. According to the Library website, the end goal is that “the entirety of the Library’s recorded sound and videotape holdings will be digitized, some using a hands-on, one-at-a-time approach, others—3/4″ videotape, initially—as part of a high throughput, robotic operation.”

Some of the videos preserved at the facility are available for live streaming. You can find them at the American Memory Collection website.

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