Surfing squirrels and Lady Gaga video debuts, move over. The National Archives and Records Administration has been quietly loading a treasure trove of film and video clips onto Youtube in order to bring history to the public.
The channel is www.youtube.com/usnationalarchives
"We have to balance protecting our holdings while also making them available to the public," said public affairs officer Rod Crotty in a published report. "Digitizing them is a great way to give people access to primary sources while also protecting them for future generations." People around the world watch more than 2 billion Youtube videos per day, making it a very effective delivery system of some rare, historic content.
Around 500 of 1,400 records have already been added to the site.
Rare glimpses into history include Walter Cronkite's 1956 report on Mustafa Kemal Ataturk of Turkey, titled, "The Incredible Turk"; the March on Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963 which culminated in Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech; "Visit Our Nation's Parks" done by the Department of the Interior in the 1930s with stunning vistas of Yosemite to Minnesota's 10,000 lakes.
Comments by visitors to the channel are running largely positive:
"This is the greatest discovery."
"Cut the budget but keep the National Archives alive!"
"A very informative channel. Greetings from Germany!"
The archives began loading content onto the site in June 2009 and has been adding one a week since then. It will also inform the public about upcoming events around the country, and bring National Archives exhibits to the people. The launch celebrates the National Archives 75th Anniversary. Some more content to look for includes:
- From the Archives to the Moon: This video playlist features footage from the start of the space race through the landing of a man on the moon.
- Favorite Things: What’s at Your Presidential Libraries: Over a series of 14 videos, directors from 12 separate presidential libraries discuss their ‘favorite things’ from their respective Presidential Libraries including Air Force One and the famous rooftop staircase from the embassy evacuation in Vietnam.
- Tracing World War II: Released in chronological order, these War Department reels follow American progress through World War II from the bombing at Pearl Harbor to Armistice.
- Touring 1930s America: Combining well-crafted, first-hand accounts from the Great Depression and sweeping footage from the Department of Interior taken in the 1930s, this playlist guides viewers through Depression-era America.