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Digital Public Library brings rare artifacts to your fingertips

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dplaBOSTON, MA– While so much of Massachusetts was on lock down last week, one spot there threw open their virtual doors to the world — the Digital Public Library of America — or DPLA, for short.

A big bash in Boston to celebrate got the ki-bosh after the bombings, but the DPLA launched anyway. It allows folks to delve through archives, libraries and museums around the country without ever leaving home… and it’s all searchable!

You can take a look at what might be the first camera in the United States — the Morse Daguerreotype, brought over from Paris around 1839, resides in the National Museum of American History, but can now be seen with the click of a few buttons online.

You can also check out a salted paper print photograph of Abraham Lincoln taken on the night in 1860 when he implored fellow Republicans to end slavery. Some call it the photograph that made him president.

Cool stuff! But there’s also tons more like thousands of books and all sorts of video clips including rare interviews with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.

It’s like visiting the rare books rooms and restricted archives of libraries and museums all over the country.

Right now, the DPLA has more than two million resources uploaded from about 500 contributors, but they are looking to expand.

To log on to this new national treasure trove, just visit dp.la. While it’ll never replace seeing the stuff in person, for folks looking to get more info on just about anything, it’s a great new place to start!