With the above video, the YouTube channel for the National Archives and Records Administration office at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library was born. As the National Archives mission is to preserve and protect the records of the United States Federal Government in order to engage the public and promote public participation in our democracy, we are constantly looking for ways to make our resources available to people. An online free-to-access archive of videos is a perfect fit. President Reagan’s above speech, delivered on the 40th Anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France, was a fitting choice for the first upload as our Education Department has a curriculum of primary-source based lesson plans for this speech as part of our “Great Communicator Files.”
The channel was created in the spring of 2016, and by the end of the year there were already over 300 videos on the channel. Given that the Reagan Library has more than 126 miles of motion picture film, as well as 20,500 video tapes, that number may seem like a drop in the bucket, but it’s one step towards creating a searchable, easily accessible resource for the public, school children, historians, and film professionals alike. Our Audiovisual Archivist is constantly adding material to the channel, averaging almost 9 videos a week in the first 8 months of the channel. The plan is not to post every video in the Library’s extensive holdings, but rather to concentrate on the best for content and quality.
Additionally we have created several playlists on the channel in order to help you sift through the content and find what you need, whether it’s for a research paper or a nostalgia fix. Here’s a sampling of some of the playlists:
Summits with Gorbachev
State of The Union Addresses
Before you ask, no the Pre-Presidential playlist does not include “Knute Rockne: All-American,” “Bedtime for Bonzo,” or any other of President Reagan’s classic Hollywood films. There are, however, a few great gems from his years in the Army in there, like this propaganda film co-starring a young Burgess Meredith, who was perhaps better known as Rocky Balboa’s trainer Mickey Goldmill in the “Rocky” films.
Our Audiovisual Archivist’s favorite videos of the President are videos from the photo ops in the White House. He created a playlist of those videos, available here, which he loves because they are much less formal and show the President in a more relaxed way.
We hope you enjoy the channel and that it helps you find what you’re looking for, whether it’s a speech you witnessed the President deliver live or on television or something to help your children or students finish a research paper on the Cold War for a high school history class. If you have used the channel before, leave us a comment and tell us how!