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Explore History Through the Medium of GIFs

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I think we can all agree that having a GIF keyboard to hand on Messenger is a truly wondrous thing. It enables us to voice our reactions to things in bizarre, apt, hilarious and otherwise exciting ways, simply because the sheer vastness of the GIF archive which resides online now.

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There's a lot of potential above and beyond finding the exact dancing Terry Crews to express your elation, though. GIFs can be used for marketing, art and to take readers by surprise in utterly terrifying comic strips. The US National Archives have decided that they have educational value as well, as they have released a sizable channel of historical ones on Giphy.

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The channel features everything from Albert Einstein to the Apollo 11 launch to clips from old movies, it's all there. The tags don't always reveal the exact details of the GIF, they're mostly just one or two word context tags, with the odd slightly corny joke thrown in because internet.

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Seeing famous historical images moving around gives them a very Harry Potter-esque feel, and somehow makes the moments captured seem that little bit more real. There are plenty of other, more comprehensive digital archives, and at only 150 images this barely scratches the surface, but it's an interesting, engaging way to examine modern history, and it might turn 'vintage giffing' into an actual thing. I hope it does.

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Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @Songbird_Callum


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Explore History Through the Medium of GIFs Reviewed by Callum Davies on Monday, October 17, 2016 Rating: 5

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