For the past few years, the United States Library of Congress has been aggressively pushing its archives online through such sites as Flickr and others. This wealth of resources that was previously hidden away in stacks somewhere can now be utilized by educators thanks to the technological revolution. The latest push from the Library of Congress is its new App for iPhones and other Apple devices. The Library of Congress Virtual Tour is free for download at the iTunes store (I’m not sure if an Android version is coming in the future) and features galleries of exhibits along themes such as the Bible, Creating the United States, and Exploring the Early Americas.
In the Classroom
As more and more schools (mine included) move to fund technology initiatives that integrate hand-held devices into the curriculum, apps like the Library of Congress Virtual Tour will become even more valuable for students doing research and exploring historical archival material. The Library’s efforts to become more open with its materials also signals a significant shift in the attitude that documents, photos, and other elements of media from our country’s history, really belongs to all of us, not just historians.