Tom Hanks excels at illuminating our nation’s history, from John Adams to Band of Brothers, Saving Private Ryan, Bridge of Spies, Apollo 13, and Charlie Wilson’s War. Much of the impact springs from Hanks’ reverence for the primary source materials – the underlying records – that ground these compelling stories in the integrity of historical truth. So it was no surprise last month when the National Archives Foundation honored Hanks with The Records of Achievement Award, an annual tribute to an individual “whose work has cultivated a broader national awareness of the history and identity of the United States through the use of original records.”
Fidelity to the facts, as documented in public records, is neither a quaint notion nor a mere gimmick to sell movie tickets or HBO subscriptions. The integrity of our public institutions’ recordkeeping is an essential pillar of our democracy. And it’s in peril.
Continue Reading The importance of records in a post-truth America