Whatever is recorded on these film reels, nobody knows.
Some of the labeled boxes in which they are stored offer clues: "Speech Department," "Annual Review," and "Hepatitis" suggest they might be training videos. One is labeled "Greene II" — the old hospital — and another is "Bowling." Yet another reads "Qualified Mental Retardation Professional;" a term pre-dating the "Direct Support Professional" and post-dating the insitutional "attendant."
But not all are labeled, and even some that are have their hand-written labels scored out in pen and marker. These could be anything.
There are twenty-two Scotch and Sony brand reels, five and seven inches in diameter, in different formats, suggesting as many as seven hours of footage in black-and-white or in color, and with sound.
Evidently, they've been in storage since the 1990s, at least, and maybe even since the 1970s, which is when the majority were recorded. They are apparently in almost perfect condition.
The overarching issue is that the obsolete equipment necessary to play these films is extraordinarily scarce, and the cost to digitize them is prohibitive. A shame, really.
What rare glimpses into the Ladd School's recent past will they show?
Time will tell — we hope.
Twenty-two reel-to-reel films of the Ladd School, in color or black and white, with sound.