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Atlas Obscura’s Favorite Tumblrs, Part Two: The Underdogs

As explained in Part One of Atlas Obscura’s Tumblr roundup, we’ve broken our list of favorite Tumblrs into two parts. In Part One we dealt with the big kids staffed by professional organizations: National Geographic, The Smithsonian, WNYC RadioLab, Lapham’s Quarterly, The Paris Review, etc. This time we’re giving attention to some of our favorite underdogs, the ones that are more of a curatorial labor of love.

In no particular order, here are 14 dark horses on Tumblr we think are worthy of your attention for the best in offbeat history, obscure travel, and other wonderful internet ephemera:

OLIO ATAXIA

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Olio-Ataxia culls super high quality, large format photos from across the world that coalesce as a presentation of the diverse array of human experience happening at any given moment here on our little planet. This Tumblr makes you feel like an ant, but in a good way.

CABIN PORN

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Cabin Porn exists because, at one point or another, we all fantasize about running away from the modern world. And when we do, the respite we imagine looks just like this.

COLLECTIVE HISTORY

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Collective History comes with a tagline of: “Through the eyes of the past we see our future.” In true Tumblr format, they utilize beautiful images from the wonders of what came before to form a blueprint for where we’re all heading. 

THIS ISN’T HAPPINESS

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This Isn’t Happiness cobbles together everything from comics and pop culture GIFs to imagery of rarely seen, classic film gems. The best part may be their single line captions, each of which completes the portrait with an undeniable pang of emotion.

TEMPEST

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Tempest presents a nearly endless collection of photography united in images perched on the delicate, quiet edge of a storm that may or may not ever actually break loose.

THE CHIRURGEON’S APPRENTICE

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The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice bills itself as “dedicated to the horrors of pre-anaesthetic surgery,” but its focus is not nearly so narrow. The Tumblr teems with morbid beauty in all forms: bone art, medical museums, anatomical wonders, and more.

MUSEUM GIFS

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Museum GIFsmodus operandi is really pretty straightforward: they make great, weird GIFs of stuff they see in museums. 

THE ODDMENT EMPORIUM

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The Oddment Emporium could very well be written by one of us at Atlas Obscura, but (to the best of our knowledge) it’s not. The curiosities contained therein are a mixture of some of our favorites and some that we hadn’t yet heard of. In short: it’s wonderful.

MYTHOLOGY OF BLUE

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Mythology Of Blue is a sapiosexual’s dream come true. Curated by a librarian, this Tumblr’s specialty is building a labyrinth of thought-provocation through all manner of forms. Prominent touchstones include literature, imagery, and philosophy. 

THE ART OF GOOGLE BOOKS

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The Art of Google Books is a by-product of Google’s whole crazy project of digitizing all print matter, but humanizes the act of endless scanning by showing readers the scribbles, edits, and notes in the margins we make even when we know we’re not supposed to.

DEARLY DEPARTED TAXIDERMY

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Dearly Departed Taxidermy is run by a “painted lady” who a) has great taste in posed dead things, and b) actually knows how to perform taxidermy with her own two hands. 

WHERE IS MY MIND? 

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Where Is My Mind? is probably the Tumblr-est of all the Tumblrs on our list, in that it’s a mishmash of images that wordlessly convey the personality of a nameless person who we’d probably get along with famously were we to meet in a bar. 

SCIENTIFIC ILLUSTRATION

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Scientific Illustration is a searchable database of earth’s specimens, large and small, all lovingly depicted throughout the ages. 

WEIRD VINTAGE

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Weird Vintage’s mission involves rounding up antiquated ads, photos, and illustrations that “that make you just a tad bit confused/alarmed/amused.” It’s hilariously great. 


We hope you’ve enjoyed perusing what excites us about Tumblr, and that we’ve provided some serious counterarguments to use against you friends when they try to tell you Tumblr is nothing but a dumping grounds for the visually bulimic. And keep checking in with Atlas Obscura’s Tumblr to see the new and inspiring relics we’ve culled from the corners of Tumblr and beyond! 

(Did you miss Part One of this guide? Go back and read it!)