12 Good Places to Find Historical Images to Spark Inquiry
Historical photographs, paintings, sketches, and maps can inspire all kinds of history questions. This is why, for over a decade, I have used and recommended images from Today’s Document from the National Archives to spark class discussion as an introduction to lessons in US and world history. . There are dozens if not hundreds of other similar galleries on the web today. A list of some of my favorites is included below.
Not only are historical photographs, paintings, sketches, and maps useful for initiating discussion in a classroom, but they are also useful for prompting fun research questions. One example I shared a few weeks ago is the following question: What kind of car was Harry Lyon sitting in this photo? A modern image can also be helpful in inspiring research questions. For example, I often use the following image with the following prompt: “What former vice president of the United States owned this house?” ”
Here are twelve great places to find historical images to spark inquiry.
The vast majority of the images you will find in the collections listed above are public domain images or under a Creative Commons license. That said, you should always check the usage rights before uploading images from the galleries.