Europeana Tech 2015

Last week, the Historypin team united from as far as San Francisco, London and Sofia, Bulgaria to attend Europeana Tech 2015 conference at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (National Library of France) in Paris.

The conference brought together a diverse range of people from application developers, technologists, researchers, designers, and cultural heritage professionals to share knowledge and work together to help shape the future of cultural content.

Check out the Euopeana Tech programme 2015 here and the tweet list here.

Discussions were interesting, varied, and delved into the current challenges of working with cultural content including discoverability, the importance of rich metadata and how this can be achieved through technical and crowdsourced modes, optimised web search, publicity and R&D. Reuse was another important strand to be discussed including the latest designs and ideas to facilitate reuse in a way which would prevent the separation of content from it’s metadata.

Historypin’s Jon Voss spoke about the critical role that open data and technology can play in creating social value and how cultural heritage can be harnessed to help build stronger communities. He shared some of the great local projects around the world using Historypin, from neighbourhood history projects to reminiscence sessions, and local story collecting.

We heard from some inspirational speakers including Seb Chan (Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum), Dan Cohen (DPLA), Andy Neale (DigitalNZ), George Oates (Good Form & Spectacle), Tim Sherratt (Trove), Dr Chris Welty (Google), James Morely (Europeana Foundation) and Jon Voss (Historypin).

Thank you to Europeana for organising an insightful and fascinating conference and to the Bibliothèque Nationale de France for hosting.

Do you have memories or photographs of the Magpie and Stump?

The real history of pubs like the Magpie and Stump lives with its people: previous and current landlords, detectives who come for a drink after a case at the Old Bailey, office workers who celebrate the arrival of the weekend and everyone else who has made some connection to the pub.

We’re working with local people to create a shared history of the Magpie and Stump and we need your help to add materials and memories. Everything gathered will be added to the digital archive Historypin.org, where it might even become part of a book about London community pubs.

Join us at the Magpie and Stump for an evening of sharing stories, seeing photos from the Magpie’s archive and hearing anecdotes from local pub historians.

Bring your friends, photos and best stories!

Wednesday 18 February 2015, 5pm – 8pm

Magpie and Stump, 18 Old Bailey, London EC4M 7EP

Explore and upload material online

Visit the Magpie and Stump’s Historypin project here to contribute to the digital archive

First World War Engagement Centres Meet Up

Last week, we joined a meet up of the five UK First World War Engagement Centres which took place in the beautiful setting of Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre in Selly Oak, Birmingham.

The Engagement Centres are based in clusters of Universities across the UK and are designed to be hubs to support local community groups running commemorative First World War projects and to work with them to build new collaborative research projects. Check them out here

Voices of War and Peace, Birmingham

Everyday Lives in War, Hertfordshire

Centre for Hidden Histories, Nottingham

Gateways to the First World War, Kent

Living Legacies 1914-18, Belfast

The Engagement Centres are connecting with many of the projects using the Historypin First World War hub and we are working with them to support online and offline collaboration.

Here are some great examples of what’s happening so far. From past events such as a FWW roadshow, a talk on the Christmas truce of 1914 and a 1930s film screening of ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ to future events such as ‘WW1 AND YOU’ – an interactive event to share stories and memorabilia and an exciting performance of ‘Oh What a Lovely War’ and much much more.

The meet up was a great opportunity to get together with everyone from the Centres, hear about the variety of activities so far and find out about what’s on the horizon. Keep an eye on Historypin and the Centres for more news.

Do you have memories or photographs of the Old Eagle?

The real history of pubs like the Old Eagle lives with its people: previous and current landlords, musicians who come for a jam, locals who enjoy a quiet drink on the weekend and everyone else who has made some connection to the pub.

We’re working with local people to create a shared history of the Old Eagle and we need your help to add materials and memories. Everything gathered will be added to the digital archive Historypin.org, where it might even become part of a book about London community pubs.

Join us at the Old Eagle for an evening of sharing stories, seeing archival photos and hearing anecdotes from local pub historians.

Bring your friends, photos and best stories!

Wednesday 25 February 2015, 5pm – 8pm

Old Eagle, 251 Royal College Street, London NW1 9LU

Explore and upload material online

Visit the Old Eagle’s Historypin project here to contribute to the digital archive.

Syracuse University Visits Historypin

On 18 November 2014, the class of ‘Digital Britain: Engaging the User’ from Syracuse University visited Historypin for a morning’s workshop. We were really happy to be able to share and discuss Historypin.org with a great group of enthusiastic digital communications students. Here is a guest blog post from lecturer Carol Nahra about the day.

As a London-based university lecturer hosting visiting American students, it can be difficult sometimes to plan field trips that get them into the heart of bustling London without sacrificing learning. Sometimes visits can be too superficial, and light on content. But keep them bound to the classroom and they might as well be back home in the U.S. The ideal study abroad experience is all about offering up quality opportunities to learn in their temporary city. I recently hit the jackpot by taking my students on a visit to Historypin. They were able to step directly into a central London workspace, whilst also taking part in a valuable workshop which was crucially two way in its information exchange.

The Syracuse University class I teach is called Digital Britain: Engaging the User, and is all about ways in which the British media and cultural industries are using the digital revolution to engage in creative ways. We’ve been to the Telegraph and the BBC, as well as the Science Museum and Wellcome Trust, examining and reviewing a range of interactive projects.

 

To prepare for our visit, Lise from Historypin developed a homework assignment that got the students signing up to Historypin and posting photos. They were told that their feedback about this process would go directly to the site’s developers – this knowledge spurred the students to give it more attention than they might otherwise have done!

In the workshop, after learning about Historypin and its objectives, and mission, Lise and her colleague Sophie engaged the students in a discussion in which they verbally gave feedback on their homework. These 20 year-old digital natives weren’t shy about sharing what they felt worked about the site and what could be improved, and I think their comments were appreciated by Lise and Sophie, particularly as their demographic is not overly represented on the site.

The students’ input was followed up with detailed bullet points, for example from one student who said: “I would personally feel more comfortable sharing stories and items if my profile was private and I could approve of the viewers.” Much of their feedback centered on how Historypin operates as a hybrid sharing site, and how best it can fit into a crowded social media landscape.

They also had the chance to role play some of Historypin’s very active users, and think through how such a site can enrich the lives of a range of people. In all it was a very engaging day, and one that I hope to repeat with the next batch of students!

Uncovering Mississippi’s Hidden History

The Biloxi Wade-ins, April 1960. Pinned by Elaine Marsh to Uncovering Mississippi's Hidden History.

Uncovering Mississippi’s Hidden History, one of our newest projects on Historypin, has been created by educators and is designed to help students, fellow educators, and the general public learn about and teach local Mississippi history. Largely focusing on (but not limited to) Civil Rights history, this project has been developed by Teaching for Change, a national non-profit organization that coordinates programs encouraging teachers, students, and parents to build a more equitable, multicultural society through education. We asked Julian Hipkins III, Curriculum Specialist and Mississippi Teacher Fellowship Project Director, and Deborah Menkart, Executive Director, to speak briefly about the driving forces behind Uncovering Mississippi:

What do you hope to achieve with this project, in a nutshell? Why is telling history from the bottom-up so important?

Mississippi has centuries of stories of oppression and resistance which could be used to introduce young people to a deep understanding of race, class, power, politics, civic engagement, the environment, economics, culture, and more in U.S. history. However, Mississippi history is too often presented to students as a series of names and dates about people who have no connection to their lives.

It is our hope that Historypin will encourage young people to research, document, and share the stories of the state’s untold history. In addition, by examining history from the bottom-up, students can understand that anyone can impact history. 

We were inspired to pursue the partnership with Historypin after hearing from young people about the power of uncovering their local history. Working with a local history project in McComb, Mississippi, students said:

 “I used to think my town was small and unimportant, now I’m proud of where I’m from,”

 “I learned I can make history by what I do in life,”

 “I feel more strongly about exercising my right to vote.”

Through the historypins, young people can recognize the powerful stories in their community and state history ­­and make history themselves. 

What is an example of the kinds of activities teachers and other educators will run over the platform?

Teachers and other educators will be using the website to engage their students in uncovering and documenting untold history. For example, during any period of history they are studying, students could document and pin local history examples (gravestones of soldiers during study of WWII; churches burned and/or schools integrated during study of the Civil Rights Movement; farms established during the New Deal; locations for protests during labor and the long Civil Rights Movement).

Teachers may also have students look for related sites throughout the state and connect with teachers, students, or classes to compare notes (or even compete!). 

These stories can be used by teachers and students to develop reading, writing, and critical thinking skills; civic engagement; and improve personal racial identity and race relations.

Teaching for Change will be working with teachers throughout Mississippi on the project. If you have questions about the project, please contact Kerri Young at Historypin or Julian Hipkins III at Teaching for Change.

The project page on Historypin.

You can start exploring the project and add your own content here.

Recap: Historypin’s Homefront 1945 Event with the US National Archives

Attendees enjoying the film program at our Homefront 1945 event on November 8, 2014.

We would like to present some scenes from our successful Homefront 1945 event at the Rio Theater in Northern California on November 8th, 2014, part of our collaboration with the US National Archives to help share and reuse their diverse audiovisual records of World War I and World War II.

This is designed to be a replicable event that you could do at your own theater or local history museum either with a Hollywood blockbuster like Fury or Unbroken, a classic movie, or your own content. The National Archives and Historypin can provide programming ideas and guidelines as well as copies of the historical films and posters you see here. If you’re interested, please contact Kerri Young for more information.

The special movie event let us share some of NARA’s special content with audiences in the San Francisco Bay Area. Fury, starring Brad Pitt as a tank commander nearing the dangerous final days of fighting in Germany during World War II, acted as the centerpiece to a full program of time-traveling back to WWII, held at the 1940′s Quonset hut Rio Theater and Cafe.

The evening featured digitally restored WWII NARA films, including The True Glory, in the background during a vintage dinner that featured modern takes on wartime foods. Attendees from all over the Bay Area spent about an hour listening to and sharing stories of what it was like in the area during those days. In-between stories, Historypin’s Jon Voss helped to raffle-off reproductions of vintage posters and DVDs from NARA, and Fury posters from Sony Entertainment. Before the film screening itself, the modern movie trailers were replaced with a cartoon, featurette and newly-digitized newsreels from April 1945 that would have been played in theaters at that time, all from the holdings of the National Archives.

The Rio Theater where we held our event, a few hours north of San Francisco.

Specially-designed posters for our event, posted over an official Fury poster.

Enjoying a modern take on wartime foods with a special menu from the Theater.

Hearing stories of what the homefront in Bay was like during World War II.

Raffling-off wartime-era posters from NARA's archives. Raffle tickets were included in reproductions of ration booklets from WWII, which each attendee received.

This event was hopefully the first of many in the kind of experiential learning we want to engage audiences with for our wartime films campaign, and provided just a small sampling of the audiovisual materials from World War I and World War II that we hope to connect with as wide an audience as possible.

On behalf of the National Archives and Historypin, we’d like to thank the California Historical Society for their co-promotions and the Russian River Historical Society for connecting us with an amazing lineup of storytellers who shared their history on the river, from fighter jet fly-unders of the Guerneville bridge to stories of the Japanese American residents of area before and after their forced imprisonment.

The First World War Centenary on Historypin

A home for local community First World War projects

Today we’re excited to launch the First World War Centenary hub on Historypin, a home for local community groups running First World War commemorative activities. We’re launching with some great projects from here in the United Kingdom, but this is a tool for all of your First World War remembrances from around the world.

At the core of the hub is a new set of collaborative tools that enable any group or organisation to set up your own project, add collaborators, upload materials and invite others to pin photos, videos and audio to this shared space.

If you’re running a local heritage project about the First World War, we’d love to have you on the hub! You can create your project here – just select “Add Project” and you’re on your way.

The hub has been created in partnership with the Heritage Lottery Fund who are funding thousands of projects across the UK to research, understand and commemorate the war in new and creative ways.

Hundreds of groups and organisations have already shared their activities and the hub is already showing a diverse picture of centenary activities. Take a look at some of the fantastic projects involved so far:

Explore the hub to see what’s happening near you and get involved!

As the Centenary unfolds, the number and scale of commemorative activities will grow. The First World War Centenary area on Historypin will do the same, evolving to best support, increase and sustain local collaborative activity which brings people together to access, share and create collective histories.

If you would like to work with us on centenary activities, we’d love to hear from you — just drop us a line at hello@historypin.org.

The First World War Centenary hub has been created in partnership with the Heritage Lottery Fund with the support of the Imperial War Museums, Arts and Humanities Research Council and JISC.

Becontree mural launch!

Have you drunk at The Merry Fiddler? Saved the day at Ley’s swimming pool? Or perhaps dived straight in at Dagenham Town Show?

Becontree’s colourful history will soon to be bought to life with the launch of a new mural at Valence House Museum & Visitor Centre. Artist Chad McCail has painted a 100 year history of the Becontree Estate, inspired by the photos, memories and stories shared by local people as part of This Used to be Fields. Everyone is invited to join the free launch celebration.

 

Venue: Valence House Museum & Visitor Centre, Dagenham, Essex, RM8 3HT

Date: Saturday 25th October

Time: 2pm-5pm

Free & un-ticketed (just turn up)

 

Chad McCail and Create will be there to introduce the mural, and Historypin will be on hand sharing our favourite local photos, films and stories in our ‘Becontree Memory Box’. The This Used to be Fields archive is yours to explore and contribute to, so dig around in your attics, dust off those old photo albums, and bring along your Becontree images to be shown, scanned, and shared.

You’ll be able to share them in comfort with friends and family too, as they’ll be free tea, coffee and cake provided, as well as some specially created arts activities for children from Scribble & Smudge

This Used to be Fields is a collaborative project delivered by Historypin and Create. The project has been commissioned by the Barbican, with funding from the Arts Council of England and additional support from Creative Barking and Dagenham.

Historypin, the US National Archives, and Fury

Today is the US opening day for the movie Fury, starring Brad Pitt as a tank commander nearing the dangerous final days of fighting in Germany during World War II.  As part of our work with the US National Archives, we’ve had an incredible glimpse into the war both at home and abroad, with newly digitized newsreel clips from April 1945.  Criss Kovac, supervisor of the National Archives Motion Picture Preservation Lab (who happened to get a sneak peak of the film at the Fury premiere in DC this week–jealous!) gives great context to the film in this post along with the just-released newsreels and amazing gif images.  The Fury team has also put together a digital discussion guide you can download which adds further context (and thanks for the Historypin shoutout!)

We’ve started to work on geolocating some of these NARA newsreel clips on Historypin, as you can see below with footage of the first gathering of the United Nations in San Francisco on April 25, 1945. You can almost hear the word’s of President Truman echoing through the Herbst Theater today, “If we do not want to die together in war, we must learn to live together in peace.”

We’ll be releasing more details soon, but we’re teaming up with the Rio Theater and Cafe in Monte Rio, California November 8th, 2014 for a special Veteran’s Day screening of Fury. The special dinner and a movie experiential event, Homefront 1945, will let the historic Quonset hut theater us back in time to experience the sounds, tastes and stories of our country at war and hear from residents, veterans, and historians about what life in California, and on the front, was like in April 1945.

rio-yard-green.jpg

The night will feature swing music from the 1940’s, a modern take on vintage foods, actual newsreels from April 1945, and a diverse roundtable of experts and first hand accounts of life on the homefront and the front lines.  You’ll be able to share your own personal or family stories on Historypin as well, and we’ll have on display and will be raffling off reproductions of maps, war bonds posters, and digitally restored films from the National Archives collection, as well as official Fury posters.

Do you have family photos or memories to share about World War II?  You can add them to Historypin now! Interested in hosting a film and memory sharing event like this yourself? Let us know in the comments or drop a line to Jon Voss, Strategic Partnership Director at Historypin.