What is Urban Archive?

Urban Archive is a Google-map-like app that displays geolocated, archival photographs of cities around the world.

Where do these photographs come from?

These photographs are sourced from the digital collections of various museums, libraries, and historic institutions in our partnering cities. 

How does the map work?

Urban Archive’s map is made up of purple and gray location lots. Scroll to zoom and display lots at a higher resolution. Purple lots will display archival images geolocated to that address, and gray lots are locations that are not yet associated with an archival image. Purple pins represent sites that are now demolished or that don’t line up with present location lots.

Why are some locations missing photographs?

Unfortunately, not every city site is represented in the digital collections we work with. If you’d like to suggest a collection or photograph, you can email us at and we’ll see what we can do!

How does the search bar work?

Our search bar lets you browse our collections without relying solely on the map view for discovery. You can input your own search terms and filter information available to Urban Archive by organization.

What is included in search bar results?

Results are gathered by searching the metadata of our various partners’ digital collections and the names of locations we have identified. Results returned will display locations, metadata, and geolocated archival photographs that match your search query. 

What are City Stories?

City Stories are curated lists of locations which are narrated by text from one of our partnering organizations. A set of featured City Stories will display on the homepage and are updated weekly. You can browse other stories using the search bar. Want to make a story on the Urban Archive platform? Reach out via email below!

Do you plan to expand to other cities?

Well, yes actually! We’re currently working with cities in New York State but new cities lined up for the next year. Stay tuned by subscribing here.

How can I suggest a story to the map?

You can use this form right here.

Have more questions?

No problem! We’re here to help. Send us an email at