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The World’s Oldest Photography Museum Goes Digital

From 19th century daguerrotypes to photos of Martin Luther King Jr., some of photography's history goes online

“Walking with a bucket in mouth; light-gray horse, Eagle” ca. 1884-1887 by Eadweard J. Muybridge Photo: George Eastman House / Google Art Project

Opened in 1949 in the mansion once owned by the man who in 1888 founded the Eastman Kodak Company, the George Eastman House is “the world’s oldest museum dedicated to photography,” says PetaPixel. And last week the Google Art Project added high-resolution scans of many of the wonderful photos housed in George Eastman House to its growing collection.

Much as Project Gutenberg is trying to digitize the world’s books, the Google Art Project is seeking to digitize the world’s art. This is the first photography museum to join Google’s project, says Mashable.

The collection spans a range of photography styles and techniques, from early collotype prints and daguerrotypes to more modern photos of historical significance. George Eastman House:

The initial group of 50 Eastman House photographs on Google Art Project spans the 1840s through the late 20th century and a wide variety of photographic processes from the 174 years of the medium’s existence are represented. The variety of subjects featured include Frida Kahlo, Martin Luther King Jr., the first train wreck ever photographed, the Lincoln conspirators, the Egyptian pyramids and Sphinx in the 1850s, and a portrait of photo pioneer Daguerre.

This isn’t the only new digital archive of significant photos. PetaPixel also points us to the newly revamped PhotosNormandie collection, an archive of thousands of photos from the late stages of World War II.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Newly Digitized Images of the Scopes Monkey Trial Reveal the Witnesses
Film vs. Digital: Archivists Speak Out

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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