The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum‘s Photo Archives is mainly an in-person attraction, but more than 30% of their 100,000 historical photographs are available for search online. In the online search, you can select the “Public Domain” filter under the “Photo Usage Rights” section and you now have access to 3,498 (at the time this post was written) photos! The USHMM photos can be categorized, in the broadest sense, into people, locations, and documents. There are the expected photos showing the horrors of the extermination camps, but there are also photos of people waiting to be sent to camp–which are also quite eerie–and even photos of notable famous figures, such as the journalist Dorothy Thompson. Location photos range from, once again, the aerial and first-person views of the camps to shots of sanctuaries in synagogues. Lastly, the documents include things such as maps and letters, useful for research and gathering facts.
The National Archives, located in Washington, DC, has more than the Declaration of Independence in a poorly-lit room: it has numerous Digital Photography Collections available in the public domain. The Digital Photography Collections fall under four categories: General, 19th Century, 20th Century, and 21st Century. The site also provides links NARA Resources, which range from photo collections, articles, and educational resources.
NASA on The Commons uses the website Flickr to post photos from the archives at NASA Images. As explained on the “About” page, NASA posts these NASA Images photos on Flickr to reach a wider audience, as well as to encourage the audience to interact with the images through tagging and commenting. Some photos feature human subjects such as astronauts, politicians who supported space programs, and famous astrophysicists and aerospace engineers. Other photos feature celestial objects such as planets and the Sun, as a way to emphasize Earth as part of a larger, magnificent solar system. The overwhelming majority of these photos, however, showcase our aerospace technology, our feats of engineering that have allowed us to explore and document the solar system.
The J. Paul Getty Museum, as stated on their “Who We Are” page, is “the world’s largest cultural and philanthropic organization dedicated to the visual arts. ” Their collection, started by the businessman and art collector, J. Paul Getty. The works made available in their Open Content Program consist of visual material such as photography, prints, drawings, etc. The three most popular subjects of these various visual materials are mythology, religion, and history.