I wasn’t born when the moon landings took place. Nor was I there when Woodstock happened. Television also didn’t see the light of the day in my country. Thankfully, while growing up the web happened. Now, with a simple search I can catch quite a few momentous historic events as they were broadcast then.
Not all of it is on History channel. Not all of us head towards YouTube. There are quite a few other websites out there which host stock video footage from key moments in history. They playback not only eyewitness accounts, but also give us history lessons in video…as it happened.
So, which are the handful of these hosting sites which have a commendable library with videos of history? Let’s check out four of them here.
A collection of 90,000 reels should be enough to pique your interest. British Pathe is one of the oldest media companies in the world, so the strength (and depth) of their collection is not surprising. All professional usages require a license fee, but the video clips can be previewed online. They have a full-fledged channel on YouTube where a small collection is hosted. Check out the video from 1921 which shows the flight (or lack of it) of an early helicopter.
CriticalPast is an attractively designed website which features 57000 videos and 7 million images. It could rank among the ones with the largest privately held archival collections in the world. The clips and photos are sourced largely from U.S. government agencies and can be viewed online without charge. Downloads are available at a cost. The neat feature of the site is the timeline which allows you to narrow your video search to a particular year and thus check it out historically.
The other tool that I like is the one which shows you Your Birthday in History. You can check out what happened on your birthday across the years with the help of archival video footage.
The Travel Film Archive is a collection of travelogues and educational and industrial films that show the world the way it was between 1900 and 1970. The stock footage is licensed but you can view them online without cost. The search engine on the site is more than helpful – it allows you to search by region, country, state, and city. Then you can also narrow it down by time and subject, or choose a filmmaker who shot the film. You can also try the tag cloud.
The Internet Archive might pale in comparison (only in design) to the above three, but then you have to remember that most of the videos here are free to download under a Creative Commons license. The Internet Archive Blog is a must read if you want to take a shortcut through the thousands of videos here, and pick out the ones to watch (E.g. Little Known Classics You NEED To Watch!). Alternatively, you can do a keyword search or go through the sub-collections one by one.
These four websites are not the only ones of course which offer viewable historic clips, but they are among the few that allow you to at least view them online for free. The others which I stumbled across where restricted by licenses and pricing. If you are a history buff, your journey does not end here.
5 Interesting Historical Events Timelines That Show History As It Happened
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7 Historical Websites That Let Us Go Back & Take Another Peek At History
Do you have a great historical video website bookmarked somewhere? Leave us the link in the comments and tell us if you find any of these websites educational and fun.
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