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The Met releases over 375K free images, D.C. photos included

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Expect photos of the presidents and the streets of the District

A photo of Abraham Lincoln, taken by Alexander Gardner in c. 1863.
All photos via The Met

Before, history buffs could go to the Library of Congress’ photo archive to search for historic photos of Washington, D.C. Now, even more photos have become publicly available, thanks to The Met.

Earlier this week, The Met made over 375,000 images of public-domain works available under Creative Commons Zero (CC0), meaning that anyone can use, share, and remix the collection without restriction. The images made available under the CC0 license were already digitally catalogued.

When The Met made the announcement about this new change, it read:

“The Met has an incredible encyclopedic collection: 1.5 million objects spanning 5,000 years of culture from around the globe. Since our audience is really the three billion internet-connected individuals around the world, we need to think big about how to reach these viewers, and increase our focus on those digital tactics that have the greatest impact. Open Access is one of those tactics.”

The Met has also added key information, known as “tombstone data,” to each of the digitized photos. This data includes the title, maker, date, culture, medium, and dimensions.

While combing through the publicly available photos, Curbed came across a few related to Washington, D.C. Below, see some of the many photos relevant to those in the District.

Photo of Pennsylvania Avenue taken by Alexander Gardner in c. May 1865.

For the above photograph, The Met wrote:

“On May 23 and 24, 1865, two weeks after the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, was taken prisoner in Georgia, more than 150,000 jubilant soldiers marched up Pennsylvania Avenue as part of the Grand Army Review. To the sounds of bands playing ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home,’ the armies of the Potomac, Tennessee, and Georgia were feted in a victory parade to celebrate the end of the war. Traveling from the newly completed Capitol (seen in the distance) to the main reviewing stand in front of the Executive Mansion, row after row of men passed before Alexander Gardner's stereoscopic camera, positioned just above the heads of the crowd.

Posted opposite the Willard Hotel, today still standing at Pennsylvania Avenue and 14th Street, Gardner and several assistants worked to document the event with relatively fast, small plate cameras. The resulting views, in which the soldiers and horses are blurred, were taken from the spectators' level rather than from an ideal vantage point, thus anticipating by twenty years the contingent look of street photography made with hand-held cameras. Statistics would later reveal that four times the number of men who marched in the Grand Army Review had died in the war.”

Photo taken by Alexander Gardner in c. May 1865.
Photo taken by Alexander Gardner in c. May 1865.

Introducing Open Access at The Met [The Met]