By Milena Popova
Last week, we talked about the geographical maps you can find on Europeana and on the Europeana Open Culture app. Today, we present another way of journeying through history – using old photographs that map the past. They represent a snapshot of a particular historical moment and highlight elements related to this point in time such as locations, people, emotions and fashions. However, unlike maps, they can tell a unique and often intriguing story of a person, of groups or of nations.
Pictures in individual albums mark important personal events, remind us of significant others and evoke a complex mix of memories and feelings. Don’t you smile every time you see your baby pictures? Or feel joyful and a bit nostalgic about the happy family times or just amazed at how young and beautiful your parents looked in their wedding photograph?
Old photographs can also provide valuable evidence about the political and economic climate and of aspects of everyday life during a particular historical period. Not only can you find out who were the heroes of the day but you can also discover, for instance, the respective trends in fashion, make-up and hair styling.
If you would like to explore more, download the Europeana Open Culture app and browse the ‘Images of the Past’ theme. It gives you access to over 200,000 old photographs and prints kindly provided by the National Library of Poland, Fondo Fotográfico de la Universidad de Navarra and Biblioteca Valenciana Digital. All images are in the Public Domain so you can use then freely in your own projects. Enjoy travelling back in time!