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Friday, October 28, 2011

9 Sources for Historical Images, Documents, Videos, and Audio

Earlier this week I had the privilege to work with teachers from the Florida Virtual School at a conference sponsored by the National Council for History Education. Here are some of the resources that we used during the workshops. By the way, if you're interested in having me speak at your school or conference, please click here for more information.

The National Jukebox is an archive of more than 10,000 recordings made by the Victor Talking Machine Company between 1901 and 1925. These are recordings that were made using an acoustical recording process that captured sounds on wax cylinders. The recordings in the archive can be searched and listened to on your computer. You can search the archives by recording date, recording type, language, and target audience. The National Jukebox has also arranged playlists that you can listen to in a continuous stream. You can also embed the recordings player into your blog or website as I have done below.



Another great feature of the National Jukebox is the interactive Victrola Book of the Opera. The book contains 436 pages of history and descriptions of 110 operas. Recordings in the book can be launched and listened to within the pages of the book.

The David Rumsey Map Collection is a collection of more than 20,000 historical maps documenting places throughout the world. The maps can be searched by area, by time period, or by cartographer. The David Rumsey Map Collection is also available as a Google Earth layer.

LIFE has long been known for capturing and hosting some of the most iconic images of the 20th Century. Today, LIFE continues to capture and share outstanding imagery. LIFE Photo Timelines hosts timelines featuring images from the LIFE collections. Visitors to LIFE Photo Timelines can view existing timelines or create their own timelines using images from the LIFE collections.

The Avalon Project is a free resource that I use on a regular basis with a couple of my US History classes. The Avalon Project, produced by Yale University, provides digital copies of hundreds of original documents from a myriad of topics in US History.

The Travel Film Archive is a collection of hundreds of travel films recorded between 1900 and 1970. The films were originally recorded to promote various places around the world as tourist destinations. In the archives you will find films about US National Parks, cities across the globe, and cultural events from around the world. The films are a mix of color and black & white footage. The earliest footage is silent while the later footage is narrated. You can view the films on The Travel Film Archive site or on The Travel Film Archive YouTube channel.

FedFlix, hosted by the Internet Archive, is a collection of nearly 2000 films produced by the US government during the 20th Century. The topics of these films range from presidential speeches to agricultural practices to public health and safety. Some films are instructional in nature, for example there is a film for police officers on how to arrest someone. Other films are more informative in nature and some films are flat-out propaganda films. All of the FedFlix films are in the public domain so feel free to reuse and remix them as you and your students desire. The films can be downloaded or viewed online. Films can also be embedded into your blog or website.

The Commons on Flickr is a good resource for students in need of images for multimedia projects for history, literature, and other content areas. A requirement of contributors to The Commons is that all images are made available without copyright restrictions. Here is a list of institutions contributing to The Commons.

The US Library of Congress website is a fantastic place to find digital copies of more than ten million primary sources. To help you utilize the documents you can find on the site, visit the Library of Congress Teacher's Page. A part of the Teacher's Page is the primary source center. The primary source center walks teachers through the process of locating documents on the Library of Congress' site. The primary source center also provides guides for using various types of primary sources including political cartoons, photographs, and oral histories.

Google Books is one of my go-to places for old books and magazines. When you search, use the "full view" option to find materials that you can read and download in their entirety. You should also use the "date range" option to narrow your search to a specific range of publication dates.

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