It’s chilly, gray, and wet on this Saturday — a perfect day for wandering the web and checking out the amazing archives and repositories openly and freely available. From films to archives to ancient manuscripts to music, this short list of links ought to supply you with a panoply of distractions and amusements for a slow Saturday.
50,000 free films
You could spend all day, all week or even all month just checking out the films in the National Screening Room.
The National Screening Room is something of a time capsule: The videos cover the period from 1890 through 1999, capturing a broad range of American life.
Read the article linked below to learn more about this Library of Congress resource.
You can also go directly to the film collection itself in the National Screening Room from here.
Iconoclast Andy Warhol obsessively photographed the world he was walking through and now his archive of over 130,000 contact sheets and photographs are available online, as described in this article.
“Warhol took his camera with him and snapped images from the time he left his apartment, through midtown Manhattan, to work at his offices overlooking Union Square, to nights at uptown galas or downtown nightclubs. The images range from the mundane to the glamorous.”
Read the article about the project, or just jump directly into the archives.
700 years of Persian manuscripts
Western civilization tends to overlook other civilizations that often predate our own, especially those from different parts of the world. Though we may feel like we know a little of Persian history and culture through stories and history, it still seems separate from our own experience. Now, as the article explains:
This free resource opens windows on diverse religious, national, linguistic, and cultural traditions, most, but not all, Islamic, yet all different from each other in complex and striking ways.
Explore this rich collection further yourself.
Alan Lomax Music archive
His natural curiosity, described in this article, lead here far and near with his field recording equipment to capture the songs and stories of real people.
Lomax’s work extended far beyond the Deep South, into other areas and cultures of America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia. “He believed that all cultures should be looked at on an even playing field,” his daughter Anna Lomax Wood told NPR.
Featuring over 17,000 historic recordings, his archives are now open for your review.
Art Institute of Chicago
Finally, a treasure trove of art from the Art Institute of Chicago, introduced in this article:
The museum has reproduced thousands of high-resolution images of its art and released a substantial amount into the public domain. This means that, under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, students, educators, and even everyday art lovers can download this digitized art for free.
Take a stroll through the collection here.
So, enjoy a few thousand free resources for your edification and entertainment today — or anytime!