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National Geographic Special Collections: Film & Media Archive

Black and white image of two men with film equipment.
Photo by Maynard Owen Williams. Gansu Province, People's Republic of China, 1932.

Our film and audiovisual archive dates back to 1901 and houses 770,000 hours of viewing material. Highlights include Louis Leakey and William Beebe, Dian Fossey and Jane Goodall.

Accessing the Film and Media Archive

Access to the physical spaces is restricted due to the vulnerable nature of the materials in the collection. Please contact us to set up an appointment with any research or questions.

Grant Preserved Films

Preserved with a grant from The National Film Preservation Foundation.


Two men on a boat examining equipment

From the Archives & Film Preservation Blog

After the Mid-Atlantic Ridge expeditions in 1975, where the theory of plate tectonics was confirmed, Bob Ballard and the other scientists still had questions…With so much magma bubbling up, why were the rocks of the valley floor not hot? Keep reading...

Voices from the Past

Listen to Marion Stirling recall an archeological expedition to Costa Rica.

Sound Bites

The January 1979 issue of National Geographic magazine included an Eva-tone soundsheet containing songs of Humpback whales. Please take a listen to those songs.

What We Are Loving Now

Footage from Sky Lab 4 mission (1973- 1974)

Film Archive Facts

Film, video, and audio recordings 

Feet of film digitized to date—25% of the collection

45 Degrees F and 40% Relative Humidity
The coldest room in the Film & Media Archive


Digital Preservation Initiative

Find digitized audio, film, photos, and documents from National Geographic's archival collections.

Banner Photo Credit: Renan Ozturk.