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YouTube offers tour of the past with 120 years of historical footage

Courtesy of footage from the Associated Press and British Movietone, you can now watch some of the most memorable events from 1895 to the present.

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You can now catch 120 years of historical footage on YouTube. YouTube

Looking for video of the San Francisco earthquake in 1906, the crash of the Hindenburg in 1937, or the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941? You can now catch all of that and much more on YouTube.

Culling their collection of newsreel footage from over the past 120 years, The Associated Press and British Movietone have added more than 1 million minutes of digitized film footage to YouTube, the AP announced on Wednesday. Stretching from 1895 to the present day, the footage consists of 550,000 video clips highlighting "the moments, people and events that shape the world," according to the AP.

In the past, YouTube had a reputation as a site that offered cat videos and other amateur clips. But the site has built itself up over the years by offering professionally-made videos and channels devoted to specific topics. YouTube has also turned into an archive site, capturing the present and replaying the past. But the latest footage contributed by the AP and British Movietone represents the largest amount of historical news clips uploaded on the site to date.

The AP sees the footage as a "view-on-demand visual encyclopedia," available as an educational tour and a draw for history buffs and documentary filmmakers.

"The AP archive footage, combined with the British Movietone collection, creates an incredible visual journey of the people and events that have shaped our history," Alwyn Lindsey, AP's director of international archive, said in a statement. "At AP we are always astonished at the sheer breadth of footage that we have access to, and the upload to YouTube means that, for the first time, the public can enjoy some of the oldest and most remarkable moments in history."

To gain access to all the footage, YouTube users can add the AP Archive and British Movietone channels to their subscriptions. From there, you can browse through the channels to find videos organized into specific categories. Or you can search each channel for a specific video by name or topic.