Alinari Photography Archive and Museum, Florence
The collections of the Alinari family photography firm tell a fascinating story of history and continuity in photography, and the Alinari Archive is an immense fund of 3,500,000 photographs, some 300,000 of which have been digitized and archived on the Alinari site for commercial and educational use. The Fratelli Alinari Museum of the History of Photography exhibits work from the Archives, often focusing on important Italian and non-Italian photographers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In Italian and English. Founded in Florence in the early years of the medium, Fratelli Alinari, has worked continuously in the field while also dedicating itself, on a grand scale, to the conservation and exhibition of historical and contemporary photographic work.

“Promoting conservation through the power of wildlife imagery,” ARKive means to be a visual record of the natural world, as well as a resource to support and inform conservation and to raise public awareness. Partnered with the world’s definitive directory of endangered species, IUCN Red Lists, and showcasing the work of many of the most recognized wildlife photographers and filmmakers, ARKive may well become the most accessible repository of images and films depicting plants, animals and natural places of the earth, many of which are endangered. Watch the site’s eye-catching video, narrated by Sir Richard Attenborough, for a succinct overview of the non-profits contents and aims

Art Institute of Chicago
The AIC’s impressive photo collection was kick-started in 1949 by Georgia O'Keeffe’s donation of a significant portion of the Alfred Stieglitz Collection, some of which can be seen in the nearly 10 000 digitised photos available on the site. Other important bodies of work include Edward Weston, Paul Strand, Eugene Atget, and André Kertész. The Mary L. and Leigh B. Block Photography Study Room makes the AIC’s 18,000 item collection available to researchers. The Photographic Society, a group of photographers and photo-related professionals, works to fund and promote the museum’s photo collection.  

Belfast Exposed Image Archive
Belfast's long-lived contemporary photo gallery commissions, exhibits and publishes a variety of new photographic work, but it is also a keeper of the city’s turbulent history, recorded in the collections of the gallery’s Community Archive. Built from the contributions of amateur and professional photographers, and spanning the past 30 years, the archive represents a nuanced history of political, cultural and social change in Northern Ireland. The gallery posts a compelling weekly selection of featured images from the Archive.

BBC In Pictures
The BBC has expanded its mandate in the era of web communications by seeking the images and viewpoints citizen photojournalists the world over. The pick of amateur works share pages with professional photography. News In Pictures is a leading example of the democratization of media. This is a web project that upholds photography, and the knowledge it brings, as a means to change and advance the world. Stunning color photography and award-winning web design perfect the mix. 

The Bigger Picture
A blog is an excellent medium for the Smithsonian Institute, an institution with undertakings so vast and varied that its Archives document everything from new smart phone apps from the Museum of Natural History to photos of early 20th century palaeontology expeditions by Smithsonian teams. In fact, it is nearly impossible to summarise the content posted on The Bigger Picture in any given week, which is what makes it such a fascinating feed. Expect the unexpected from an archive that has some of the best of America’s historical, scientific and cultural material to work with.

Calisphere - Online Archive of California 
A treasure trove of digital information, the University of California’s Calisphere is a search engine that offers access to the digitized riches of many Californian archives. The content is easily searchable, both by historical themes and through an alphabetical index. Here you will find images of everything from the Gold Rush to farm labor camps to vintage gas stations. Content also includes maps, legal and financial records, manuscripts, letters and diaries, oral history transcripts, leaflets, historical records, architectural and engineering records, artwork, scientific logbooks, electronic records, sound recordings, and other documents that are held in libraries, museums, and other institutions throughout California. The Calisphere is open to everyone, from students, teachers and researchers to the curious. 

Center for Creative Photography, Tucson
Part of the University of Arizona, the CCP manages one of the largest photo collections on the continent. Emphasizing North-American photographers, the Center opens its collections to the public, offering print viewing for the general public and consultations of the archives and collections by appointment. The collections are also the base for the CCP educational mandate, which features lectures, seminars, free public education programs, research fellowships and internships.

Cleveland Museum of Art 
The Cleavland Museum's site provides a substantial gallery of meticulously described digitized images, which span from 19th century French and British daguerreotypes and calotypes to contemporary works by likes of Aaron Siskind and Sally Mann.

Critical Past Archive
A substantial archive of digitized 20th century photographs and film footage collected from U.S. government sources, Critical Past offers its clients easy access to a substantial collection of vintage news reels, military and war footage, as well as propaganda and educational films from many countries. The Archive has excellent search mechanisms and a large set of parameters that make sifting through the offerings easy. Wisely, they use their home page to its best advantage, scrolling through a random sampling of historic footage selected by year and creating a fascinating juxtaposition. Use their “Your Birthday in History” search feature to see what else your birthday is famous for.

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives 
War correspondent and Life Magazine photojournalist Eliot Elisofon had a long and varied career that often led him to Africa, and the legacy of these trips is an 80,000 item archive of photographs and transparencies that document aspects life in different areas of Africa from 1947 to 1973. It is perhaps Elisofon’s abiding interest in African art that inspired him to donate this collection to the National Museum of African Art, where selections of this historically important collection can now be viewed through the Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS). The rest of Eliot Elisofon’s considerable archive now resides at the University of Texas at Austin’s Ransome Center.

George Eastman House, Rochester NY 
The George Eastman House, home of the man who reshaped the photographic medium for 20th century, could be called the spiritual home of photography, particularly as the historic house and grounds have been converted into the museum that shelters one of the largest photo collections in the world. 400,000 prints and negatives, spanning the history of the medium and featuring some of its greatest artists make up the collection. Keeping the story of photography and film alive and vital through collections, exhibitions, film series, events and lectures – not to mention Flickr, Twitter and a regular podcast - George Eastman House is considered to be a reference in the field.

Griffin Museum of Photography
Time, Life and Saturday Evening Post photojournalist Arthur Griffin left an important legacy to his medium when he founded this small Boston-area museum dedicated entirely to photography. Situated in a 19th century mill building, the Griffin Museum uses its exhibition spaces and programs to deepen the public experience of photography in its many aspects. The Museum’s three distinct gallery spaces allow the curatorial team to offer established and emerging photographic visions, all the while extending the Griffin’s range by mounting smaller photo exhibitions in retail and cultural venues in the Boston area.

Gordon Parks Foundation
The Foundation assembles, preserves and disseminates the work of Gordon Parks, a legend of 20th century photography who documented some of the most important social and political issues of his era, always with framed with his profound respect for human dignity. The Foundation’s Archive page presents a wonderful selection images from Parks’ varied career, and there is a regular update of recent exhibitions, publications and events that feature his work. The Foundation also takes an active role in supporting young photographers with scholarships that include the Nikon/Gordon Parks Photography Scholarship for emerging photographers, and the HBO/Gordon Parks Scholarship for Ghetto Film School Students, which reminds us that Parks was also the filmmaker responsible for the classic "Blaxploitation" film Shaft.

Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center — University of Texas at Austin
Unique among photo–collecting institutions, the Ransom Center takes a broad view of photography, with holdings in diverse areas of photography, including fine arts, photojournalism, documentary photography, contemporary art, and literary imagery. In addition to 5 million photographic prints and negatives, you’ll find 400 pieces of original photographic apparatus and more than 35,000 (and counting) books about photographic history, theory, and technique. The Center founded its photography department with the acquisition of the Gernsheim Collection in 1963, at the time the largest privately–owned photohistorical archive in the United States, and has recently taken custodianship the crown jewel of photojournalism archives, the Magnum Agency collection. The comprehensive nature of their collections has made the Ransom Center a major hub for photo research and scholarship. Both the photo collection and the photo library have excellent searchable online databases, making these rich and diverse holdings accessible. The Center makes photographic copies of its materials available to scholars, and offers reproductions of some photographs for personal use.

Inside Out Photography Project
When gorilla art photographer JR won the 2011 TED Prize, it allowed him to imagine a project ambitious enough to answer the question “can art change people’s lives?” The graffiti artist-turned photographer made his mark in his native France by illegally plastering his large format portraits of friends from Paris’ tough suburbs all over the city’s more expensive neighborhoods, and discovering along the way the power of taking people out of their context so that they can be really seen. Based on JR’s large‐format street “exhibitions,” the INSIDE OUT project offered people from areas around the world the opportunity to share their portrait and make a statement about what they stand for, transforming the idea of personal identity into a group exhibition of public art. From Ecuador to Nepal, and from Times Square to the Russian Embassy in Berlin, people have used INSIDE OUT as a way of participating in “actions” like calling for reform in the British health care system or demanding justice for the LGBT community in Russia. With almost 200,000 people from more than 112 countries contributing to the project, the answer to the TED question would appear to be YES.

International Center for Photography, New York
The University of Southern California’s Digital Library is home to The International Mission Photography Archive, an unusual collection of historical photographs from Protestant and Catholic missionary institutions in Europe and the United States. The collection, which ranges in time from the middle of the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, offers a visual record of missionary activities as well as the daily lives of the people they encountered in Africa, China, Madagascar, India, Papua-New Guinea, and the Caribbean. On another level of reading, the photos open a window onto how Western missionaries were looking at the people they come to convert, a fascinating question for historians.

International Center for Photography, New York
In their elegant digs on New York’s Avenue of the Americas, the International Center for Photography’s museum exhibits challenging new work while reconsidering the meaning and resonance of historical work. Its substantial photography collections reflect changes in the medium since its inception and is replete with documentary and reportage photography. The museum and collection round out the Center’s comprehensive mission as a school, and a center for photographers.

Dublin photo-historian and librarian Orla Fitzpatrick curates this online collection of historical vernacular photographs, where her meticulous research takes us deep into such diverse areas as photo processes, fashion history, as well as architectural and social history in Ireland – to name a very few. Clearly the work of a curious mind and a thorough researcher, Jacolette is surprisingly addictive – you never know where a found photograph will take you!

John Kobal Foundation 
John Kobal was a passionate collector who ultimately became the archivist of Hollywood’s golden era of portrait photography. The Kobal Foundation manages an impressive archive of  22,000 black & white original negatives from 1920s to 1960s Hollywood featuring star portraits, scene stills and production and publicity images. The site also offers galleries of classic actor shots, and stories of Hollywood’s legendary photographers, as well as the winning entries in the Foundation’s annual portrait and book contests. 

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division 
The Library is treasure house of remarkable and varied photographic collections that document the history, society and culture of the United States. As the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and its premier public archive, the Library makes it riches accessible to the public through a sophisticated online catalogue that that gives access to approximately 13 million photographs. It’s hard to grasp the scope of the Library’s holdings; the collections begin with the dawn of photography and represent countless points of view and moments in time.  Obviously designed for researchers, the site is has excellent cross-referencing between collections, and many links suggesting related areas of interest, (including links to other institutions!). Collection overviews provide not only historical background on the content of the collection, they often include information about how images were made and biographies of the makers.    

LOC African Americans in 1900
“However shall we answer these slanders?” asked Thomas J. Calloway, special agent in the department of education, when faced with the task of presenting the real lives of African Americans to a European public heavily influenced by negative reporting from the American press. The answer came in the form of an exhibit at the famous Paris Exposition of 1900, where Calloway and author W.E.B. Du Bois created, designed and installed a display devoted to the history and "present conditions" of African Americans. The over 500 images from the Paris Exhibition are now at the Library of Congress, a collection that includes many formal studio portraits of middle-class African Americans, their homes and their churches. Along with Du Bois’ charts, statistics and his transcriptions of Georgia state laws relating to blacks (1732-1899), the photographs present an alternate view of race relations in the America of 1900.   

Magnum Photos 
Founded by legendary photographers Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger, and David “Chim” Seymour in the wake of World War II, Magnum Photos is a powerhouse of a photographic co-operative. Magnum photographers have covered the great events, people, and places of this era, evidenced in the approximately one million photographs in their physical archive and 250,000 images online.   Despite the fact that some of the most iconic images of this century and the last are part of Magnum’s ever-evolving archive, the site is remarkably un-intimidating and informative.

Maison Europeene de la Photographie, Paris 
The Maison collects only contemporary photography, citing Robert Frank’s groundbreaking work “The Americans” (1958) as the starting point of their collection. A rapid succession of dynamic and collaborative international exhibits makes this Paris center a cultural crossroads for photography. Their sharp website is in French, with a polished English translation. 

Metro Library and Archive
The surprising story of public transit in Los Angeles is told here in photographs. The LA Metro Transportation Library and Archive has digitized its collection of historical photographs, illuminating the little-known era of public transit in the one of the world’s most notoriously car-centric cities. Images of electrified tramways, cable cars and city buses dating from the late 19th to mid-twentieth century share space with contemporary images of the ever-expanding LA Metro, sign of the city’s public transit renaissance, in this Flickr-supported online archive.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 
The Met’s photography collection, once overshadowed by the museum’s more famous treasures, has taken its place among the most important in the world. Through its Joyce F. Menschel Photography Library and Study Room for Photographs, the Museum offers excellent resources to reaserchers to help them explore a collection that includes the photo archives and personal papers of such American icons such as Walker Evans and Diane Arbus.

MoMA, New York 
America’s preeminent contemporary art institution has long been a champion of cutting-edge fine art photography, but their collection of over 25 000 works is also a testament to the deversity and democracy of the medium. Researchers can view material from the collection at the Museum's Erna and Victor Hasselblad Photography Study Center by appointment.

Museum Ludwig
Photography’s cultural history is the focus of the unique Agfa Photo-Historama collection in Cologne’s Ludwig Contemporary Art Museum. The collection encompasses photographs, cameras, lenses, photo reproduction equipment, as well as books, magazines and other ephemera, much of which comes from the archives of the Agfa Kamerawerk in Munich. Information for the collection comes from a shared web site for the museums of Cologne. In German and English.  

Museum of New York City Collections Portal
Since December of 2010, the Museum of the City of New York has digitized and made available over 100 000 images from its collections, and like the city itself, the collection is captivating for its depth and diversity. One can browse through time (portraits of Coney Island sun bathers in the 60s, documentary photographs of the South Bronx in the 1970s, and early examples of graffiti art in the 1980s, for instance), by borough, or by theme. Highlights include photo collections from Berenice Abbott, Jacob Riis and even early photos by filmmaker Stanley Kubrick.

National Library of Wales 
The National Library of Wales, the main archive of the nation, is the repository for a large variety of material relating to Welsh history, including over 800,000 photographs connected to Wales. These range from works by pioneering photographers from the earliest days of photography to portfolios by contemporary practitioners of the art. 

National Museum of the American Indian Collections
Part of the Smithsonian family of museums, the National Museum of the American Indian explores the history and contemporary experience of Native Americans, and the institution’s site comes equipped with an excellent search engine that reveals the fascinating treasures of its collections. Visitors can search by category of item (such as archeological items, contemporary art works, or photographs), and/or by geographic region and cultural group. Each result is identified with a basic but informative record, and sometimes with a picture of the original record typed out on index cards that give historians a fascinating look at how language and thinking about native art and artifacts has changed. Photo historians will find a treasure house of images dating back to the medium’s beginnings in a variety of formats. 

Oakland Museum of California 
The Oakland Museum of California’s photography collection specializes, as does the museum itself, in the Californian perspective. The jewel in their crown is the Dorothea Lange archive, which covers the career of this outstanding documentary photographer. The collection spans from her early portrait work, to the ground breaking documenting of the dust bowl migration, to the repercussions of war on Californian society. The Museum offers an online selection of Lange’s most recognized work for reproduction.  

Photos of HoneyBoy Edwards
In this online exhibition from the archives of Duke University, photographer Cedric Chatterley’s black and white pictures of Blues guitarist Honey Boy Edwards capture the musician in his travels between Mississippi and South Side Chicago in the early 1990s. Chatterley chronicles Edward’s itinerant life with a compelling aesthetic that recalls early twentieth century documentary photography.

Royal Library of Denmark Photostream
The Royal Library of Denmark has begun sharing some of its photographic treasures on flickr, and its initial offerings feature historical photographs and drawings of such Danish luminaires as philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, Ingeborg Hansen, the first woman president of a nation, and Herman Bang the modern novelist.

Representing a cast of legendary artists, Berenice Abbot, Diane Arbus, Lazlo Maholy-Nagy and Robert Mapplethorpe among them, this Paris gallery is an elegant temple to the masters of the medium.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Collecting photographs has been a priority for SF MoMA’s since the museum’s beginnings in the 1930s, and major photography shows are a staple in the institution’s exhibition schedules. The photography department’s section of the museum web site features a representative selection of historical and contemporary images from its varied collection and curators present an ongoing in-house exhibition series called "Picturing Modernity: Selections from the SFMOMA Collection" that illustrates the medium's fascinating evolution. 

Sears Archive
Sears, one of most the iconic brands in America, has a long and colourful corporate story that is bound up with the frontier history of the United States. In building a site dedicated to its archives, Sears has distilled the highlights of a business history that began in 1866 into a narrative history and general chronology that acknowledge the company’s influence on the everyday lives of Americans as the nation grew. Corporate archives are rarely given the notice that cultural and government archives enjoy, yet with this simple and informative site, the Sears Archives reminds us that, from the familiar catalogues and stores of the 19th and 20th century to the monumental Sears towers in New York and Chicago, corporate history is also public history in the U.S.

Silicon Valley History Online 
This well-organized site offers scores of images—as well as manuscripts, letters, postcards, scrapbooks, menus, maps, event programs, and other ephemera—related to California’s Santa Clara Valley. The site spans the area’s entire history, from its farmland beginnings to its current incarnation as a hotbed of technological innovation. Users can browse through six major topic areas—agriculture, education, people, technology, transportation, and urban life—or use the advanced search to home in on something specific. The materials found on this site were contributed by local libraries, archives, and museums. 

University of Utah - J. Willard Marriott Library 
This site houses digital images from the J. Willard Marriott Library’s assemblage of more than 1,300 photographic collection representing 1.6 million photographs documenting everything from Mormon settlers to outlaws, from architecture to national parks. The images represent a range of historic photo formats including tintypes, daguerreotypes, cartes-de-viste, ambrotypes, cyanotypes, albumen prints, and panoramas, as well as modern treatments. The site also incorporates The University of Utah archives photographs. 

The Wheelmen 
This fascinating collection of antique photos and cartes-de-visites is maintained by a dedicated band of antique bicycle obsessives who are immersed in the history of their sport. The Wheelmen seek out, restore and ride antique bicycles, but they are equally interested in the history and lore of these pre-1918 vehicles and this archive of images showing women and men posing for portraits with their prized cycles can serve as a reference for identification and restoration. For historians, photo historians and the curious visitor, the Wheelmen archive opens a door on such topics as early 20th century sporting fashion, women in sports and the use of photography as a means of self-identification.