Museum of Natural History digitizes massive photo archive, makes it available to public

by Liam McCabe

posted Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 2:27 PM EST

Photo: Unknown, “Woman wearing headdress, Mongolia,” AMNH Digital Special Collections

In what certainly qualifies as a treasure trove, the American Museum of Natural History has digitized its photo archive—dating back 145 years—and made it available to the public through its website.

The collection is made up of thousands upon thousands of images, everything from documentation of exhibits being installed at the museum, to anthropological expeditions sponsored by the museum, to scans of rare books in the museum’s library.

The organization is impeccable. Viewers can browse by individual photos, collections, and specific exhibits. You could get lost in these archives for hours and hours on end.

Photo: Jochelson, Waldemar, 1855-1937, “Meeting of Yakuts, Siberia, 1902,” AMNH Digital Special Collections

DIY Photography has a cool take on the historical significance of this archive, pondering what future generations will think when they look back on our photo collections. Maybe the Museum of Natural History will start an early 21st-century selfie collection. In the meantime, check out the giant archive here.

“Proposed design, Florida Black Bear Group, painting,” AMNH Digital Special Collections

(Via DIY Photography)