Homework Hacks: Historical Photo Archives

They say that every photograph is worth 1,000 words. I challenge you to look at a photo from 100 years ago. Any photo, but preferably one from your local community. What do you see? People, places, things. Maybe it’s a recognizable place, maybe it’s not. However, if you dig far enough, you might find a more complex story than meets the eye.

The Historical Photo Archive is one of the many homework resources offered online by Sno-Isle Libraries. The Historical Photo Archive is part of a collaboration project between local historical societies, the Daily Herald, and Sno-Isle libraries, called Digitize our Community History. The Archive contains a growing number of digitized historical photographs from local communities in Snohomish and Island county.


Now, how can you use this? The Historical Photo Archive is an amazing primary source for any research project or presentation on local history.  As someone with a strong interest in history, I am constantly finding that there’s so much to learn about our local communities that is often overlooked. I learned more about my local community, that more I looked at Historical Photos and examined the context in them.


I’d like to challenge you to carefully look at a historical photograph. Where is the photo taken? What’s surrounding them? What are they standing next to? How old are the people in the photo? What are they wearing? What time period is the photo taken? What was happening in the world at that time?


You might gain a broader understanding of the community, and who knows, you might gain a new interest from it!



Teen Ambassador

Camano Island Library


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