Documents and artefacts
Thousands of European and American film stills from the beginning of cinema to the 1930s are now preserved at the NFSA. Details »
Documents and Artefacts
The NFSA preserves documents and artefacts that tell the stories behind Australian audiovisual industries and culture. Objects in our collection may be constructed of fabric, paper, plastic, metal or glass. Many of them – like theatre tickets, posters or flyers – were assumed to be ephemeral documents when they were made. Now they help give us valuable insights into the act of creation and take us on a journey through decades of Australian film, sound and broadcast history.
The NFSA maintains a large collection of national and international film posters, ranging from unique, pre-1940 hand-printed posters to mass-produced designs promoting modern blockbusters. Film posters we collect include lobby cards, teaser posters, daybills and one-sheet posters and you can see more examples on our International film posters page. We also acquire custom-designed posters advertising concerts for Australian artists and music groups.
Our photographic collection covers Australian and international film, television, radio and recorded sound throughout all periods of its history. It includes on-set and studio photographs taken for marketing purposes, portraits of actors, and behind-the-scenes shots.
The NFSA has some 10,000 glass slides in the collection, the majority being cinemas slides such as those from Soldiers of the Cross. The collection also includes choreutoscope slides, song slides from the early 1900s and theatre advertisements from the early-to-mid 20th century. Glass slides were routinely used until the 1940s when they were replaced by the more cost-effective and practical colour slides.
Clothes represent the mood, lifestyle, time period, style and image and personality of the people and characters who wear them. Costumes in the NFSA collection include Johnny O’Keefe’s coat, t-shirts worn by The Wiggles, Muriel’s wedding gown, Miranda’s white dress from Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) and the Oscar-winning creations from The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994).
Our artefacts collection includes props from television and film sets, promotional materials and audiovisual equipment representing more than a century of audiovisual technology. Equipment includes pre-cinema magic lanterns; sound equipment like gramophones, piano rolls and home radio sets; black-and-white and colour television sets; and different generations of video cassette recorders, television antennae and cameras.
The NFSA acquires the personal papers of individuals, and also organisations such as Crawford Productions and the Sydney Film Makers Co Op. Our manuscript collection covers a range of published and unpublished written records including: scripts, scrapbooks, diaries, letters, catalogues, invitations, press releases, financial statements, slides, design drafts, agenda minutes, speeches and visitor books.
If you have documents or artefacts that you wish to offer the NFSA, see the Collection offers page or contact:
Documents and Artefacts Unit
National Film and Sound Archive
Ph: 02 6248 2000
Freecall: 1800 067 274