Role: Historypin Intern
Why did you want to intern at Historypin?
I had just finished an MA in Cultural Heritage and was looking for work in the heritage sector, so I wanted some relevant work experience in the mean time. I had already done some work with new media in heritage and was really interested to gain more experience on a project that not only used digital media, but really takes advantage of social networks to raise awareness and communicate with users. The fact that it fit with my interest in photography was an added bonus.
How did you come to hear of the project?
I originally found WeAreWhatWeDo through its stationery (I have a bit of a thing for nice stationery) and went on to browse the site and other projects, like the Action Tracker, before coming across Historypin and the internship opportunity. After I finished my dissertation (using my WeAreWhatWeDo notebook), I came back to find the opportunity was open again.
Describe an average day for you as a Historypin Intern
I arrive and go through emails before sifting through some of the statistics for the previous week’s social media and trying to analyse how people are engaging with it. Then I might spend some time finding, uploading and pinning photos, or preparing information for bulk uploads. I also do quite a bit of research on different archives and other groups we can work with, as well as looking through recent uploads and interesting pins to find content we can highlight through the social media.
What do you do when you’re not at Historypin?
I do a few things at the moment. As well as two days at Historypin, I spend one day a week at a National Trust internship, where I work on the social media and digital marketing of a contemporary art project. I also work part-time as a recruitment consultant and I spend my weekends riding horses, taking photos and applying for jobs.
What’s been your best moment here?
It’s been really satisfying to be faced with an image for which you have very little information and find out enough to give it an exact date and location. Sometimes you can find out every detail if you try hard enough, and sometimes it’s impossible, but it’s still great to feel like your research has given that photo the context of time and place that can now always be associated with it on the site.
What is the oddest job you’ve been asked to do in the name of Historypin?
I think researching Bob Dylan fan groups was the oddest experience. I didn’t really know much about him or his music before that, so trying to navigate websites where every link is written in song lyric code was kind of surreal.
What excites you the most about Historypin?
The international scope of it. Researching and contacting archives from all over the world, and then seeing content being pinned in these far flung places really makes you realise the reach of this project is and how many different people are involved.
Can you show us a photo you have personally pinned on Historypin?
What’s your favourite photo that has been pinned to the Historypin map and why?
I actually tweeted this pin a little while ago because I’d just seen the film War Horse and this struck me as the ‘real’ version of one of the scenes from that film. It’s a reminder that those theatrical scenes of a country preparing for war really did happen. It’s also great on Street View because most of the buildings around the marketplace are still standing 100 years later.
What content would you like to see more of on Historypin?
I’m always really interested to see people’s family history, or their personal stories about people they knew and things that happened. It’s great to see content which focuses on people and their experiences in the places where they are pinned. Plus, old photos of people let you peek at some great outfits.
Why do you think people should add their photos and stories to Historypin?
It gives you some way to archive and preserve your own history and knowledge. How many times have you said you should do something with your old family photos, rather than just stuff them in a draw to get crumpled and faded, and never looked at? Historypin gives you that something, and means you get more enjoyment out of your collection.
What do you think the future of Historypin is?
I think Historypin could become more of a social network, with pinners more able to see each other’s content, comment and contribute. It also has great potential as a research tool, and as a really engaging tool to inspire an interest in history in students.
Contact @vicky_pearce firstname.lastname@example.org