Amazing stories discovered by QMPS students in Labrador, Canada

Last week students from the Queen of Peace Middle School in Labrador, were awarded ‘pinners of the week’ for their fantastic Historypin project that Grade 6 Classes have been doing this Semester. Their project explored the students’ family history and the social history of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada.

The Grade 6 classes at QPMS were very excited to become the first students in Labrador to pin their communities’ photos and stories to the Historypin creating an amazing Channel. Technology Itinerant Teacher, Susan Lamond, was inspired to run a Historypin project after hearing about Nelson Rural School’s Historypin project at the 21st Century Learning Conference.  She  immediately became hooked and brought the idea back to classes in Labrador.

The grade 6 students and teachers were eager to get started collecting pictures, and after getting tips from an archivist from Them Days magazine on interviewing skills and how to get the “story behind the photo,” they started conducting interviews. Students then learned how to scan and edit their photos before pinning them, and got more great ideas when they Skyped students  and staff from Nelson Rural School in Miramichi, who did a great Historypin project earlier in the year.  By the end of the QPMS project students had pinned 90 photos and stories!

We were delighted that the students were particularly enthusiastic about interviewing older family members about their personal stories. Abigail ‘liked being able to preserve old stories and learning about all of our family history’ and Timothy thought it was great that the stories he heard would ‘spark a new story that sometimes wasn’t related to the photo but was interesting to hear.’ He also said the seeing the photos meant it ‘was easy to imagine what actually had taken place’ and pinned a fantastic story about his Great Aunt Enid coming from Scotland to teach a primary class with no formal training in Makkovik, Labrador, meeting her husband Charlie, and proudly becoming a Canadian Citizen in 1996.

The project finished with a Skype session with Natasha and Freddie from Historypin and all the students got a special certificate celebrating their work. The project has been a huge success, and the school is going to do it with more classes next year.

This fantastic project inspired everyone involed, and Victoria, a grade 6 student, summed up the feelings of the class saying, ‘I think that learning about all the things about your family is really great! I liked hearing all the stories about the pictures.’


John Gay, Rupert Potter, English Heritage’s own

The end of March saw us launch Historypin Channels, where profiles changed in to a completely different beast. Users now have a personalised Historypin map on their Channel page which displays only their content. Historypin Repeats are viewable as well as stories that people have added to your photos. The work that I have been doing with English Heritage Archives has been gearing towards this launch, so seeing the photos I have chosen up on the site and in this new format has been very rewarding.

Kenilworth castle, Eric De Mare. Copyrighted © All Rights Reserved English Heritage Archives

That is not to say that now we have launched Channels that my time with English Heritage is up. I will be spending the next 3 months working with their cataloguing team, finding more great images to put up on the site.

I am currently working my way through the extensive collection of images from photographer John Gay. Gay was born in Germany in 1909, but moved to London in 1933 as Hitler rose to power, beginning his career as a photographer. He primarily made pictures of people, but covered a wide range of subjects from animals for pet food adverts to architecture and country fairs. Gay is perhaps most famous for his series on Blackpool holiday makers, which typifies the traditional British seaside holiday. Look out for images from the John Gay Collection, we’ll be uploading them soon.

A horned cow, Royal Agricultural Show, John Gay. Copyrighted © All Rights Reserved English Heritage Archives

In the meantime there are already hundreds of images on the English Heritage Channel, from a number of different photographers such as Eric De Mare, one of the foremost architectural photographers of the 20th century. There is also the smaller Maltby collection of Odeon cinemas, which I mentioned in my last blog, as well as a set by Rupert Potter, father of children’s author Beatrix Potter. His images are all of Edwardian London, depicting London Zoo and various street scenes within the square mile. As well as all this work from some amazing photographers there are Tours and Collections to be viewed. My favourite being the cataloguing team’s own selection of images from the Early Photographic Print Collection, a body of work containing some of Britain’s earliest known photographic works, going back as far as 1840, you can view that Tour here.

Gloucester Cathedral, Sydney pitcher. Copyrighted © All Rights Reserved English Heritage Archives

Look out for more images from John Gay on the English Heritage Channel on Historypin, also find all these images and more on English Heritage Viewfinder. If you’d like to find out more about what I do you can see my first Historypinner in Residence blog here.

Historypin goes to Manchester

On Saturday Miles and I were at the awesome Manchester Histories Festival held in the impressive neo-gothic Manchester Town Hall.

We were invited by Manchester Archives Plus who have been pinning photos from the Greater Manchester County Records and films from the North West Film Archive.

We really enjoyed introducing people to Historypin and showing off the Tours and Collections put together by Alison from Manchester Archives (who you may remember interned with us last year).

But the best bit was seeing and hearing about all the different project’s going on to find, capture and explore Manchester’s histories. A few of our favourites:

52 Manchesters – Did you know that there are 52 Manchesters around the world?!  Towns, dams, mines, from Nova Scotia to Boliviar to Australia. And Chris and Liz are going to visit them all to create a photographic record of them. We’re really inspired by their feat and hope they will do some pinning along the way too. Find out more about their plans here.

Histonauts – A digital treasure hunt game that sent participants (Histonauts) running round the city with their smartphones on missions to discover Manchester’s secret histories through online clues. Brilliant way to take the Manchester Histories Festival onto the streets and into online cultural collections. Created by the Institute for Cultural Practices  and the UniverCityCulture at Manchester University. Find out more and see the leaderboard and read more here.

Streets Museum  – A fascinating project working with locals to collect photos, objects, films and oral histories from lost streets in Salford which have been demolished over the past 50years. They are working to create an online Streets Museum were Salfordians can search for and commemorate their districts and streets.

Thanks to Alison and Dave for inviting us and involving Historypin in all sorts of games and Tours during the week.

PS. A modern replica of the room we were in:

Historypin Workshop in Orange County, CA

The Orange County Heritage Coordinating Council is running a hands-on digital history workshop, for FREE, to the Orange County heritage community.

Learn more about how to use Historypin, upload content from your own collections and hear about Santa Ana Public Library’s experiences of sharing their collection. The session will be run by Colleen Greene (@colleengreene), systems librarian at the Pollak Library at California State University, Fullerton. She is a frequent presenter and instructor on social media and Web 2.0 topics.

Date: Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Time: 10:30 am to 12pm (immediately following our abbreviated HCC meeting from 10am to 10:30am)
Location: Pollak Library (PLN 303) at Cal State Fullerton

For more information see the OC Heritage Coordinating Council blog.

Video Conferencing with Nelson Rural School, Canada

We’ve just had a fantastic video conferencing call with K-7, an amazing class at Nelson Rural School in Miramichi, New Brunswick.  The class are doing a Historypin project where they are going to become local historians and archivists and track down and capture the amazing photos, stories and memories of their families and local area.  Have a look at this fascinating photo they pinned to start the project off.

70 St. Patrick's Drive, Miramichi, New Brunswick, Canada

They will be the first school in New Brunswick to run a schools Historypin project and we are really excited about following their progress as they start to discover and pin their history.  To find out more about the call have a look these stories and photos on their great school website school,

During our video call, students from K-7 told us about their school, how they are going to dig out and share their history and asked fantastic questions about Historypin, its origins and its purpose.  We were so impressed with the interesting questions they asked and what they told us, and can’t wait to see what history they’re going to discover through their conversations with families and friends.

We’ll keep you posted as the project progresses, so watch this space!


Reading Festival

Bob brok his new hat, 29 August 2009, shated by digital_geeIt’s Reading Festival this weekend, and as part of Pinning Reading’s History we’ve been collecting photos and stories from the Festival which started in 1971, growing out of the National Jazz Festival. Check out Reading Museum’s website for a full list of all the bands who’ve played on the main stage in years past.

Reading Festival and Reading Post have contributed some great pics from their archives (including mechanical horses and bin-bag fashion) and we’ve had some great pins from Festival goers.

If you’ve got photos and memories of Reading Festival add to the map. If you’re heading down for the weekend, hope the weather’s kind!

Historypin Coffee Morning, Whitley Wood

Residents of Whitley Wood outside the community centre

We are delighted to see that Historypin coffee mornings are becoming a regular feature in Reading’s community spaces. Here are some of Whitley’s residents outside the Whitley Wood Community Centre after their monthly get together to chat about photos, stories and their area.

This week Diane brought along a photo of a relative who had been in the police force but she didn’t know when or where the photo was taken (see the photo here).  Using great detective skills, Jenny did some research and found out from the insignia on his helmet that he had worked in Holborn, solving the mystery for Diane.  We are really impressed that people in Reading are not only sharing stories about their heritage but helping each other find out more about their family histories.

This is all part of our local project ‘Pinning Reading’s History’.  If you live in Reading or have photos or stories of Reading, keep an eye on the Historypin Community pages for ways to get involved.