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Critical Past

What it is: Critical Past is a website I learned about today from Tom Boito’s great blog EDge 21 in his Catch of the Day.  The resource is too good not to share again here!  Critical Past is a collection of more than 57,000 historical videos and more than 7 million historical photos.  All of the photos and videos are royalty free, archival stock footage.  Most of the footage comes from U.S. Government Agency sources.  All of the videos and photos can be viewed for free online and shared with others via url, Twitter, or Facebook.  The videos and photos are also available to purchase for download.

How to integrate Critical Past into your curriculum: Critical Past is an incredible collection of historical videos and pictures.  The site is easy to search either by decade and topic or keyword.  The clips and photos on Critical Past will bring historical events alive for your students.  Use photos or videos on Critical Past to help illustrate what students are learning in history.  Ask students to be “eyewitnesses” of history and watch a video before they have context for it.  Students can write or blog about what they think they are witnessing, afterward they can research the event more in-depth and write a follow-up reflection on what was actually happening in the clip.

** Check out this awesome lesson that @pharesr created based on this post. So cool!

Tips: Along the right side bar of Critical Past, you will find “related videos.”  Students can watch a clip and the related videos and reflect on how the clips are related.  Sometimes it is a similar time period, sometimes a related event, other times it is a related location.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Critical Past in your classroom!

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14 Comments

  1. Wow – what an amazing resource. I will use this to help my kids find primary sources for the projects they do for the National History Day contest. It will be especially useful for those making documentaries or websites as for a small fee they can get video footage and photos.

  2. This is a tremendous resource! I will definitely use it for our U.S. History Documentary film project. There are lots of newsreels here, and it’s the best source of Bob Hope/USO footage from WWII I’ve seen in one place. Thanks for posting!

  3. Great Primary Source for showing what the world looked like at various years. Lots of background information for Social Studies and some chapter books.

  4. It would be a great service if only they weren’t ripping people off. The pricing is ridiculous considering they are selling footage paid for by US taxpayers. To charge $170 for a 50 second clip recorded in the 1940′s is a joke. This information should be available at a decent price…it’s OUR history.

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