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Ewing Township, New Jersey
Preserving Audiovisual History
NEH funding has helped the Sarnoff Collection preserve its collection of audiovisual objects. Here, students explore items from the collection during a class visit. Image courtesy of the Sarnoff Collection.

Named for David Sarnoff, a visionary radio and television executive, the Sarnoff Collection houses more than 6,000 objects associated with the Radio Corporation of America. With photographs, papers, and historical artifacts, the collection preserves, interprets, and makes accessible the history of radio and television broadcasting. But with objects like early vacuum tubes, phonographs, radios, and televisions, the collection faces a unique problem. In addition to preserving delicate photographs and papers—a task required of most archives—the Sarnoff Collection has to preserve early- to mid-twentieth century electronics that are beginning to decay. A recent NEH grant is helping the Sarnoff Collection assess and prioritize objects for treatment, ensuring that they are both preserved for the future and that they are safe for handling now.

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