Photo by George

The Commons

Help us catalog the world’s public photo archives.

The Commons Help us catalog the world’s public photo archives.


The key goal of The Commons is to share hidden treasures from the world's public photography archives.

Please help make the photographs you enjoy more discoverable by adding tags and leaving comments. Your contributions and knowledge make these photos even richer*

A random sprinkling of our participating institutions...

  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Stockholm Transport Museum Commons
  • National Library of Australia Commons
  • LSE Library
  • Texas State Archives
  • National Museum of Denmark
  • Biblioteca de Arte-Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian
  • Cornell University Library
  • Netherlands Institute of Military History
  • Internet Archive Book Images
  • Provincial Archives of Alberta
  • Nova Scotia Archives
  • National Galleries of Scotland Commons
  • New York Public Library
  • UW Digital Collections
  • National Library NZ on The Commons
  • State Library of Queensland, Australia
  • Archives of the Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle
  • Nationaal Archief
  • George Eastman House
  • Senado Federal do Brasil
  • Museum of Hartlepool
  • Australian War Memorial collection
  • The Field Museum Library
  • UA Archives | Upper Arlington History
  • Ljósmyndasafn Reykjavíkur / Reykjavík Museum of
  • Bergen Public Library
  • Fotoarkivet NTM
  • Costică Acsinte Archive
  • National Library of Sweden
  • OSU Special Collections & Archives : Commons
  • Congregation of Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada
  • Swedish National Heritage Board
  • State Records NSW
  • Mennonite Church USA Archives

A Commons Sampler

from Costică Acsinte Archive

At the ‘Dry Docks’, the Bombay alongside [1862] [Close-up of P&O Bombay at Mort’s Dock, Balmain]
At the ‘Dry Docks’, the Bombay alongside [1862] [Close-up of...
from State Library of New South Wales collection

from Costică Acsinte Archive

Drumheller Rotary Swimming Pool
Drumheller Rotary Swimming Pool
from Provincial Archives of Alberta

Millers Point - Parramatta River from the Flagstaff [1858] [Handcoloured view, looking across Millers Point to Lord Nelson Hotel on right, with Whalers Arms in centre and Albion House beyond]
Millers Point - Parramatta River from the Flagstaff [1858]...
from State Library of New South Wales collection

from Costică Acsinte Archive

Aircraft Landing Dynamics Facility
Aircraft Landing Dynamics Facility
from NASA on The Commons

Outdoor swimming pool, Edmonton
Outdoor swimming pool, Edmonton
from Provincial Archives of Alberta

from Costică Acsinte Archive

More about The Commons

A new way to share photos on Flickr

The Commons was launched on January 16 2008, when we released our pilot project in partnership with The Library of Congress. Both Flickr and the Library were overwhelmed by the positive response to the project! Thank you!

The program has two main objectives:

  1. To increase access to publicly-held photography collections, and
  2. To provide a way for the general public to contribute information and knowledge. (Then watch what happens when they do!)


I work for a cultural heritage institution that would like to be a part of The Commons. How do we do that?

Please let us know you're interested by registering here. It helps a lot if you let us know some background about your institution, and direct us to any online photo collections you already have.

How can I get involved?

We've already seen fantastic contribution from the Flickr membership. Your tags and conversations about the content in The Commons has been wonderful! The best way to get involved is to add a tag or two to the photos you see, and if you happen to know anything else about the subject, by all means add a comment.

What's "no known copyright restrictions?"

This new rights statement is being contained to the institutions participating in The Commons, at the account level. It is a requirement for participation in the program that institutions may rightly claim "no known copyright restrictions" on the content they share. More information.

*Any Flickr member is able to add tags or comment on these collections. If you're a dork about it, shame on you. This is for the good of humanity, dude!!