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Essential Lens: Analyzing Photographs Across the Curriculum

Series Resources Additional Photograph Resources

Here you will find a list of links to common digitized photograph and photographic ephemera collections for both humanities and science-based topics, primarily from the United States.

Local libraries and historical societies are also a great place to access photographs that connect to both local and national history. Local science museums may also have digitized collections for educational use.

This list also provides examples of additional lesson plan resources currently available online. Educators can explore these sites to find quality materials and ideas for enhancing teaching strategies with photographs.

Because URLs can change over time, some links may not work in the future. Searching for the name of the collection should take you to the appropriate website, however.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The legal responsibility for any use of photographs or other materials rests exclusively with you. For more information about copyright, see the Guide to Researching Photographs. It is also your responsibility to check with your own institution’s legal policies before proceeding.

Social Studies, History, and Literature Sites

Library of Congress (LOC)

Photographs and Prints

LOC Flickr site

LOC World War I

LOC Farm Security Administration Images

Civil Rights (1963 Civil Rights March on Washington)

Civil Rights (Demonstrations)

Ansel Adams (1902–1984) 
Photographs of Japanese–American internment at Manzanar

Edward S. Curtis (1868–1952)
The collection includes a large number of Native American individuals or group portraits, as well as traditional and ceremonial dress, dwellings and other structures, agriculture, arts and crafts, rites and ceremonies, dances, games, food preparation, transportation, and scenery from 1900–1930. More than 1,000 of the photographs have been digitized and individually described.

Louis Wickes Hine (1874–1940)
Labor; Ellis Island immigrants

Gordon Parks (1912–2006) 
Inner-city black neighborhoods; civil rights


United States National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

Photographs and Graphic Works

National Archives Flickr site

Lewis Hine

Farm Security Administration Photos

Civil War

Photographs of the American West: 1861–1912

Pictures of Native Americans in the United States

World War II

Vietnam War 
Teaching with Documents: The War in Vietnam—A Story in Photographs


Other Social Studies, History, and Literature sites

The Digital Public Library of America

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR Media)

Smithsonian Institution Research Information System

Smithsonian Institution Collections Search Center

World Digital Library

The White House

Presidential Libraries


ARS (USDA Agricultural Research Service) Image Gallery

NASA Multimedia Gallery

Climate Image Gallery

National Human Genome Research Institute

National Institution of General Medical Sciences: Image Gallery

National Library of Medicine: Images from the History of Medicine

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

National Park Service

National Renewable Energy Lab Renewable

Natural Resources Conservation Service

National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery

National Snow and Ice Data Center

Public Health Image Library (PHIL) from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

United States Antarctic Program

United States Department of Agriculture

United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service

United States Department of Energy

United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management

United States Fish and Wildlife Service

United States Geologic Survey

Wellcome Images


Art Images for College Teaching (AICT) by A. T. Kohl

Department of Defense-Media Archives


State Photo and Multimedia Galleries via

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Virginia Commonwealth University: Civil Rights Collection

Education Resources

Additional collections of photographs with activities for teachers and students can be found at the Annenberg Space for Photography, and on the Annenberg Learner website, as well as other sources.


Annenberg Space for Photography

Annenberg Learner

American Passages: A Literary Survey (Unit 12, Migrant Struggle activities, Documentary Photography and Film)

Artifacts & Fiction (Unit 7, Ritual Artifacts Discipline Tutorial)

America’s History in the Making (Primary vs. Secondary Source Material)

A Biography of America (Unit 11, The Civil War, Analyzing a photo as a historical document)


Journey North

Primary Sources: Workshops in American History

Shedding Light on Science (Unit 1, Shine and Shadow Photography activities)

Teaching Multicultural Literature, Workshop 8. Social Justice and Action Teaching Strategies, Photography Project


Other Educational Resources

Library of Congress 
America’s First Look into the Camera: Daguerrotype Portraits and Views, 1839-1862

Civil War Portraits with Curriculum

Dust Bowl with Curriculum

Japanese Relocation with Curriculum

Native American’s Assimilation

National Archives

Lewis Hine

Japanese Relocation

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Environmental Visualization Laboratory

Series Directory

Essential Lens: Analyzing Photographs Across the Curriculum


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  • ISBN: 1-57680-905-6