The catalog includes a monumental 550,000 digitized archival clips, equating to more than a million minutes of footage. Those interested can search through them, as a sort of visual encyclopedia on the AP Archive Youtube channel. The channel features a deluge of footage of major historical events, from the earthquake in San Francisco in 1906, to the Pearl Harbor bombing; as well as celebrity footage through the decades — everyone from Audrey Hepburn to Elvis to Amy Winehouse gets a nod.
The earliest videos were pulled from 1895 – long before anyone living today was even born. As with other YouTube footage, you can also grab any video and embed it online, or share it on your favorite social media site.
In the one-minute promotional welcome video for the new AP Archive, which the Associated Press claims is the “largest upload of historical news content” to be made available on YouTube, you’ll get glimpses of what’s available – from a smiling and waving Marilyn Monroe, to Elvis on stage, to a panoply of humanity’s toughest trials through fires, wars, and natural disasters. At the end, you can click on the video to be directed to a signup page for regular updates, presumably as new content becomes available.
The site is arranged into various playlists, including Editor’s Pick, Accidents and Natural Disasters, Celebrity Stories, Crime, Iconic Moments in History, Fashion and Beauty Highlights, International Politics, Conflict and Terrorism, Science Nature and Technology, and Weird and Wacky. Highlights that currently appear on the homepage from the historical archives include Muhammad Ali’s 1972 New York press conference, Michael Jackson confirming his 2009 U.K. tour dates that sadly never happened, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Nelson Mandela’s release, and an amateur video of one of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers on 9/11, among others.
It’s all ready and waiting for you online, history buffs, so get ready to step into the archives and step back in time.