Skip to main content

US National Archives launches new collection of free historical GIFs

US National Archives launches new collection of free historical GIFs

Share this story

If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is getting into GIFs. The agency in charge of preserving the nation's most significant documents, images, and video, has started a new channel on Giphy, and is filling it with a mix curious and historical content. So far, NARA has only uploaded around 150 GIFs, but the channel will be updated continually. You can check out some of our favorite picks so far below:

The Beatles arriving in America

A clip from 1967 dating advice film "How to Succeed with Brunettes"

Waving hello in Yosemite Valley in 1924

Ernest Hemingway enjoys a drink

The destruction of the Nazi swastika from the 1945 film The War Ends in Europe

United States Forest Service mascot Woodsy Owl gets rid of some trash

Performing dogs from archive newsreel footage

More newsreel footage, this time from just before the Battle of Okinawa in 1945

It's a neat selection and a valuable initiative from NARA, but when it comes to online historical and cultural archives, this is really only scratching the surface. Here are some of our other favorites:

  • British Pathé on YouTube: A fantastic mix of newsreel footage, old TV and film clips. Almost entirely narrated in the clipped tones of the British upper class. Makes even videos on the search for the perfect pickling onion seem refined.
  • Google Arts & Culture Institute: Brilliantly presented and expansive in its scope; a modern day Microsoft Encarta. Includes walks around famous art galleries and museums, as well as more in-depth stories and collections, like this timeline of brass.
  • MoMA Collection: More focused on modern art than Google's archive, this collection from MoMA isn't laid out in the most accessible fashion, but is pretty staggering in size — more than 70,000 artworks available to browse online.