Farewell to Wilma

We are very sad to say good bye to our lovely intern Wilma who has been brilliant and a huge help with our pinning needs over the last few months. Thanks Wilma!

Name: Wilma Stefani

Role: Historypin Intern

Why did you want to intern at Historypin?
As an archaeologist and videographer, I am interested in exploring ways of communicating historical themes to the general public, and I discovered Historypin during my MA in Digital Humanities: I thought this project was brilliant in giving people the opportunity to share their pictures and stories online, and I was interested in how they were using social media to achieve that.

How did you come to hear of the project?
My supervisor at King’s College. Dr. Stuart Dunn, suggested me to apply for an internship at Historypin, as it could be interesting as a case study for my dissertation, which aims at analysing users’ comments and responses to historical themes shared in online platforms.

Describe an average day for you as a Historypin Intern
Beside general tasks such as choosing the Pin of the Day and helping in organising images and videos uploaded by users, most of the time I was following a particular project, Putting Art on the Map, a project which invites the public to solve mysteries about the collection of paintings held at the Imperial War Museum. I’ve been creating some of the mysteries and collating and publishing the answers provided by the participants to the live events organised by Rebekkah and Alex, as well as keeping at the same time track of the content posted through social media.
What do you do when you’re not at Historypin?
I love Art in all its forms…films, music, dance, figurative arts, and London offers so much in terms of cultural events. When I have a day off I like visiting museums and going to the theatre.

What’s been your best moment here?
I had the opportunity to take part in a live event at the Gordon Museum, where some medical professionals provided information about a selection of IWM paintings with a medical subject. I was amazed by the engagement of the participants, they analysed the paintings discussing in group and they came out with some great responses.

What is the oddest job you’ve been asked to do in the name of Historypin?
Nothing really odd, but I may have developed new deciphering skills, as while transcribing the comments written by participants to the live events, I was trying to understand the sometime illegible calligraphy of some of them…!

What excites you the most about Historypin?
I think that the opportunity to pin the photos on the Street View is an excellent idea, visually intriguing and fun to do.

Can you show us a photo you have personally pinned on Historypin?
Not a photo but a painting, ”Con: Camp’ – Genoa’ by Olive Mudie-Cooke, from the IWM collection. It was exciting to discover that this corner of Genoa has barely changed since 1919: and also to find so many paintings depicting Italian landscapes, including some near my hometown, in the north of Italy. Now I’ll have to go to see them at the museum!

"'Con: Camp' - Genoa' by Olive Mudie-Cooke, shared by IWM

What’s your favourite photo that has been pinned to the Historypin map and why?I chose this photo as Pin of The Day, and I love it because I think it shows so well the contrasts and liveness of London, in the 60s as well as nowadays.

Carnaby Street, 1960, shared by robertloch

What kind of content would you like to see more of on Historypin?
I would be very happy to see more videos uploaded, especially black and white footage from the old days.

Why do you think people should add their photos and stories to Historypin?
I think one can see the intersection between family and national stories as something we all have in common as human beings and citizens. Historypin offers an online space where anyone can participate, making them appreciate the history and culture of the place where they live.

What do you think the future of Historypin is?
It would be great to see the project developing also in new countries: I think Historypin has a great potential in connecting people from different generations and backgrounds, and can also be increasingly used in schools to engage students with their past.

Contact:  wilmastefani.wordpress.com


Interview with Chloë, Historypin Intern

Name: Chloe Chandler

Role: Historypin Intern

Why did you want to intern at Historypin?

Historypin intern Chloë ChandlerWhy wouldn’t I want to intern at Historypin! Whilst I’m someone who loves museums and cultural institutions of all kinds, the value of the amazing things that these cultural institutions contain lies (for me) in the human stories associated with them and the way in which they can help us to generate discussions. It’s these discussions that I’m really interested in, as I believe that talking and engaging with one another and our stories/ experiences is the crucial basis for a happier world. Historypin provides a fantastic world-wide digital platform to get people talking and I was keen to learn more about how the digital can facilitate a positive community. Everyone can contribute to the discussion about who we are, where we have been, and, crucially, where we are going. Every personal story that is recounted via a photo or another object slowly makes up our rich communal history. I love that.

How did you come to hear of the project?

As someone who has (for far too long) been shamefully unaware of all things digital, a friend introduced me to Historypin as a gateway into better understanding the benefits that the technological world has to offer the world of cultural heritage. I even applied for a job at the London office! Whilst I wasn’t quite lucky enough to secure this position, I was sent a very nice email by the lovely team and so I decided to give them a call and see if I could get involved in the project in another way- luckily for me, they agreed!

Describe an average day for you as a Historypin Intern:

An average day… I’m not sure one exists! Well, the month I have spent in the london office has been mainly focused around contributing to the re-organisation of the Historypin social media channels. This means I have spent quite a bit of time gaining an overview of past Pins of the Day, trying to pin down (pun intended) what makes a really great photo! I have then been trying to hunt down some of these ‘magic’ images for future Pins of the Day- this is no easy task! Luckily for me, searching the Historypin map and various channels means that no day is spent without witnessing some extraordinary moment in time.

What do you do when you’re not at Historypin?

When I’m not at Historypin I help out on a few other projects for Picturehouse Cinemas and University College Hospital/ University College London Museums and Collections. I’m interested in heritage and wellbeing, and using heritage in unconventional contexts, so I spend a lot my time hunting down or creating unusual projects that I can work on! I have recently been lucky enough to find paid work, so these projects will be filling my weekends for the time being. However, when I’m not working, I trawl London’s infinite supply of cafes searching for my new favourite cake- a mission I take way too seriously.

What’s been your best moment here?

My best moment… I think, for me, it hasn’t been a case of one moment above all others but rather a slow realisation of how much I have learnt over the weeks I have spent in the office- especially in terms of my digital awareness. I have gone from feeling daunted by the prospect of putting together a tweet, to helping to create a series of videos for the Historypin Youtube channel! Don’t laugh, this is a big deal for me.

What is the oddest job you’ve been asked to do in the name of Historypin?

I haven’t been asked to do anything particularly odd on behalf of Historypin, but nevertheless oddness has come my way. Whilst helping the team to look for experts/ enthusiasts in the art and history relating to the World Wars, I came across some individuals who mixed these interests with their love of Britney Spears. Some people have eclectic tastes!

What excites you the most about Historypin?

What excites me about Historypin is probably the same thing that excites most people who engage with the project- the fact that you never know what you will stumble across! I have seen photos of women trying to sell Dodos in Trafalgar Square, a shocked audience witnessing a volcanic eruption off of the coast of Japan, to the most extraordinarily early colour photo of New York at the turn of the twentieth century. Incredible.

Can you show us a photo you have personally pinned on Historypin?

I’m afraid I can’t! I have to be the only Historypin Intern to have not created my own channel, but all the photos I would want to pin are tucked away at my parents’ house and are therefore not here with me in london. Mine is definitely a family who loves to look through our old photos though, so next time I am home my mum and I will furiously start pinning! Once we start, I fear there will be no stopping us. That said, I do have a couple of nice photos at hand of my great-grandparents at the British seaside and my mum (in the green dress), auntie, and grandma a la 1970s courtesy of old Facebook posts.

What’s your favourite photo that has been pinned to the Historypin map and why?

My favourite photo is probably one entitled ‘Eggs for Hitler’, which was pinned by St3rlingStud3nt2. The photo depicts two black Second World War Allied soldiers in a German forest holding bombs with the slogan ‘Happy Easter Hitler’ scrawled across them. Intended as a joke at the time, this comedic element of the photo helps to bring the strange world of warfare into focus. It is so bizarre to see soldiers smiling whilst holding live shells. The silliness of the photo jars against the deadly seriousness of their situation. It highlights the way in which humour probably played a huge part in keeping people sane during such a terrifying and awful time- but I do wonder what happened to the two soldiers in the photo. Did they make it out of Germany? I really hope so.

What kind of content would you like to see more of on Historypin?

Whilst I love the photos of historic events on a grand scale, my passion lies with examples of the smaller and more personal moments of people’s lives. Where the family event is the big event. A great example of this was a photo that I happened to come across of a cake someone had made in celebration of the unification of Germany.

It is by no means the most visually striking image posted onto Historypin, but I’m so glad someone took the time to pin it as it offers us a snapshot of the amazing and complex way that personal history and the everyday (ie. baking a cake) continually makes up and intersects with our wider history. Photos like this highlight the way in which every person experiences, creates, and re-presents their own personal version of history in an infinite amount of ways. That, and the photo combines my two passions- history and cake!

Why do you think people should add their photos and stories to Historypin?

Wow- well, that’s the question! Everyone has their own personal reasons for wanting to share their stories and photos with others in their daily lives, which is so important for just connecting with people. The great thing about Historypin is that it takes this interaction to the next level. You still have that interaction, but by doing this digitally you can mesh stories and perspectives on a much larger scale and become active in helping to create the story of everyone. Everything becomes much more fun when you do it with others- history is no exception!

What do you think the future of Historypin is?

I’m not sure what the future of Historypin is, but I know what I would like it to be! As well as continuing to enrich our collection of historic photos, I would really love to see people engaging with more and more recent history. All history is made in the present and I would love people to engage with this idea a bit more by exploring the very recent past as history. By becoming aware of the blurred lines between the past and the present I think we can actively engage with the world around us in a more critical way. By taking control of the past we can shed new light on our present and, more importantly, specifically shape the future to be one that we would like to live in.


If you have any desire to read more of the same heritage-related waffling I have a very sporadic and underused blog/ twitter account which you are very welcome to visit:



Interview with Joyce, Historypin Intern


Name: Joyce Yu

Role: Historypin intern

Why did you want to intern at Historypin?

I love maps and I love storytelling. Historypin combines those two things together. I’m in what’s known as the Digital Humanities and Historypin is one of my favourite examples of how digital tools can be paired with areas in the Humanities and Social Sciences to create an incredibly unique way to share and display content.

How did you come to hear of the project?

I originally found Historypin by searching through the App store on my iPhone. I was interested in seeing if there were any established applications that allowed users the ability to geolocate their current locations and show them old images or interactive media of the same location. From there, I was lead to the website and different forms of social media associated with Historypin.

Describe an average day for you as a Historypin Intern

Every day brings something different and another cool project to explore. There have been several days where the focus was on uploading stories and photos to finish a project. There could be a few days where I’m meeting participants who are testing the interface of the website and another day where I’m looking at art from World War 1.

What do you do when you’re not at Historypin?

I’m not from London so I’ve spent a lot of time walking around and getting lost in neighbourhoods. I think the best way to explore a city is to get lost and see what unfolds. I also like to pretend that I’m a local, but my tendency to walk around with my neck angling towards the sky trying to find a street sign gives me away, every time. I’m also finishing my thesis on psychogeography and digital mapping so there are days when I’m tucked away in a coffee shop with my laptop.

What’s been your best moment here?

There have been many, but it was a great moment to see images on a spreadsheet become a collection of stories on a finished project (Europeana 1989). It’s also been really fun to see how all the pieces fall together from behind the scenes.

What is the oddest job you’ve been asked to do in the name of Historypin?

Honestly, I can’t think of anything that I’ve done here that’s odd. Although, I had pockets of missing knowledge from World War 1 that I can now say have been successfully filled.

What excites you the most about Historypin?

I love the way that maps and city spaces can be represented with memories and stories. I’ve found myself thinking, “how do we show that on a map?” every time someone shows me a collection of photos or even a spreadsheet of data.

Can you show us a photo you have personally pinned on Historypin?

This is one of my favourite places in my hometown and I grew up walking up and down these streets. Historical factoid: This would have been the first point of contact with the city when new settlers would see when they got off the train.

What’s your favourite photo that has been pinned to the Historypin map and why?

I can’t decide on a single photo that is my favourite, but I love the Remember how we used to and Year of the Bay collections.

What kind of content would you like to see more of on Historypin?

This may only be tangentially related, but I would love to see a collection of people’s individual mental maps overlayed on top of the conventional map. We all see and navigate our city a little differently and it would be really interesting to see how that changes over time.

What do you think the future of Historypin is?

I can only see Historypin growing bigger because of how many bridges it has to different worlds. The projects work on such an incredible interdisciplinary level that brings people from the digital world, history, design, archives…it’s all relevant and everyone’s excited. I see great things.

Contact @joycemyu

Interview with Charlotte Goodhart, Historypin Intern

Name: Charlotte Goodhart

Role: Intern

Why did you want to intern at Historypin?
It manages to amalgamate some of my favourite things: the internet, old photos and social history.  I’m very nosey ,I love knowing about peoples lives, families, history etc so when I found out about Historypin it was a sort-of BINGO there goes my social life I shall forever be stuck inside browsing this website moment.

How did you come to hear of the project?
I initially heard about it through some friends but I really got into it when I was making a channel for the Jewish Community Centre for London about the Jewish East End (please do have a look here: 

Describe an average day for you as a Historypin Intern
It’s a bit of a mixture, the first thing I usually do is check the social media stuff and select a pin of the day..this can take a surprisingly long time! Then I might do a bit of research for an upcoming project or type up some notes for a previous project

What do you do when you’re not at Historypin?
Mostly watch Eastenders, but I’m also studying part time for an MA in Museum Studies at UCL and working in marketing.

What’s been your best moment here?
I’ve really enjoyed having control of the social media pages and interacting with people, we get some really sweet messages so it’s nice to read them and see how happy the website makes a lot of people. 

What is the oddest job you’ve been asked to do in the name of Historypin?
Hmm..some of the stories given by people who’ve been interviewed for the Remember How We Used To project are pretty hilarious, lots of old guys reminiscing about their childhood – they’re not odd but they are very funny

What excites you the most about Historypin?
I love that its completely open and accessible to anyone.  Plus I’m excited by the fact that it’s very easy to use and so anybody, with any story to tell can get onboard.

Can you show us a photo you have personally pinned on Historypin?

I love this photo, Emanuel Litvinoff is one of my favourite authors so a few years I wrote on his facebook page saying how much I enjoyed one of his books (Journey Through a Small Planet) – his son who maintained the page sent me a message to say thanks and also that he thought I was probably one of the only people under 50 who’d read it.  In 2011 Emanuel sadly passed away.  When I started the project for the JCC I messaged Aaron asking if he had any photos of his dad (who was born to a Jewish immigrant family and grew up around Spitalfields) and he sent me this straight away.  I just think it’s so cool: Emanuel is back in his home streets, just hanging out, looking so sharp in this beautiful suit.  I love the Asian guy walking past too.  To me this photo  perfectly sums up Brick Lane and the East End as a place.  Also, the composure, the light, the content, everything, it’s beautiful.

What’s your favourite photo that has been pinned to Historypin and why?
I can’t pick one but I am a bit obsessed with the Saint Michael’s College Archive channel – they have beautiful, interesting pictures uploaded weekly.

What kind of content would you like to see more of on Historypin?
I’d love for Historypin to expand outside of Western Europe/Australia/America.  For example I’d love to see more photos of Africa that aren’t of Royal Tours or of British soldiers in WW2.

Why do you think people should add their photos and stories to Historypin?
Because it’s an amazing resource for students and people who are into history.  It’s one thing to read about a certain place, a certain group or a certain era but to be able to see it and read about it by people who were involved is really powerful and important – share your history!

What do you think the future of Historypin is?
I would love to see Historypin become the standard for all museum/university/school/archive collections.  Obviously the dream is to see EVERYTHING digitised and readily available to everyone.  I guess it’s to see more of the same but on a larger scale.

Mapping London’s Lost Streets

How do you pin a photo to a street that doesn’t exist anymore?

Being a Historypinner in London can be surprisingly difficult. Over the last century, hundreds of streets have had their names changed, been moved or been totally destroyed and rebuilt in a new formation.

There’s nothing more frustrating than sourcing some great photos with fascinating stories then getting home and discovering that the address given doesn’t appear to exist anymore. Then there is that moment of total despair when Google doesn’t instantly produce the results you need, but fortunately there are some solutions.

My first piece of advice is to persevere! Abandon Google Maps straightaway because it won’t recognise older street names, start looking instead on message boards and forums. The Internet has given rise to hundreds of local history forums where people share their memories of where they grew up. There are also lots of amateur genealogists searching for information about their ancestors or even people just looking for old friends. These sites are an invaluable source and so far I’ve been able to find the new location of every single disappeared street I’ve come across. One that I used a lot was a group about the Jewish East End on Facebook but for more general use, British Genealogy has some good forums. Most boroughs have home made pages as well, but there are sites that cover the entirety of London, such as Move That, which whilst not originally intended to be, has become a hotspot for people seeking out

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streets and relatives in different areas of the capital.

Just five minutes in London is enough time to witness the massive architectural diversity of the city. One of the spaces where this is most evident is the City of London (the Square Mile) where higgledy-piggledy streets not wide enough for cars lead on to roads lined with enormous modern office blocks.

Even out in the suburbs it’s common to find a road of identical Victorian semi-detached houses neighbouring a Brutalist tower block that in turn neighbours simple new-build flats or houses.

In some ways this is the beauty of London; its’ a space for constant reinvention and rebuilding and is endlessly changing. Just ask your grandparents their thoughts on the area that you live in now (especially if you live in east London). The city may lack the simplicity of the tourist-friendly American grid system, but there is something quite charming about the winding lanes and strange combinations of buildings.

London has never experienced a period of massive redevelopment nor was it originally built based on a plan, in the way that some cities like Paris and New York were. Instead the city has grown organically over almost two thousand years and the layers of different cultures and building styles are visible evidence of the rich history of the city.

A century of mass destruction and redevelopment, as a result of slum clearance and the Second World War, has left swathes of London unrecognisable from its past condition. As a result this has led to the disappearance of many streets and place names, something that creates quite a big problem for historypinners.

I first came across this issue whilst creating a channel for the Jewish Community Centre for London, which mapped the history of the East End (you can read my blog about it here and see our channel here). A number of people gave us photographs with addresses where they or their parents or Grandparents had lived, which when I searched for no longer existed.

One of these is Dorset Street, in Spitalfields. Known at the time as ‘the worst street in London’ (there seems to be a ‘worst street’ for each quarter of London, with this one being the absolute worst of them all). According to a newspaper article from 1901 the street boasted an enormously high monthly murder rate and was even avoided by ‘the aristocrats of crime’. Instead the lower criminal classes, including ‘the common thief’, frequented it. Untouched by police who feared the area, it also apparently had absolutely no female residents who were not employed in the sex trade.1

Dorset Street, in Spitalfields

From the 1920s onwards, the local authorities pursued a strong policy of slum clearance, for reasons of sanitation but also undoubtedly in a bid to rid the area of its seedy culture. Today there are a few commercial buildings, some quite naff amateur graffiti and a large car park on the site. Nothing remains that hints at its rather sordid history.

White’s Row today (Google Street View)

Meanwhile, another rival for the title of ‘Worst Street’ can be found north, in Finsbury Park not far from the tube station. Campbell Road was infamous at the time and rumour has it that applying for a job with this address as your home instantly disqualified you! A local newspaper article, written in 1928 described the daily presence of a resident from the road at the North London Court. The street was also isolated from its neighbours who were still seen as working class, but were considered far more respectable.2

It was demolished in the late 1960s or the early 1970s and replaced by Biggerstaff Street and Haden Court, the latter being at one point apparently home to a young Johnny Rotten and his parents.

Meanwhile, back in the East End are yet more disappeared streets.

Mile End Park, which runs across Mile End Road, starting at Victoria Park’s southern tip and extending almost to Limehouse, was built on land that was heavily bombed during the war. Mostly this was an industrial area, but some was residential. Now though there are few signs of the homes that were destroyed.

The Palm Tree pub is one exception; situated in north end of the park, this traditional East End boozer that once formed part of a residential street now stands totally alone, surrounded by greenery. Meanwhile in the south end of the park is Midlothian Road, which is just three houses long. These are all now restaurants and the first on the street appears to be cut, quite abruptly, from other houses that must have once made up the terrace. A useful online map of all the bombs that hit London during the war can be found here. It shows the extent of the damage felt in Mile End and goes someway to hinting the streets and homes that were once there.

[1] http://www.jacktherippershop.com/london%27s_worst_street.htm
[2] http://www.historytoday.com/jerry-white/campbell-road-worst-street-north-london

Interview with Historypin MLIS Intern, Andrew Crawford

S. Andrew Crawford joined us for an internship over the fall of 2012, and served as both our first MLIS intern and first virtual intern. Andrew did a fantastic job outlining various metadata standards across libraries, archives, and museums to our team, and researched potential tools and insights for metadata crosswalks.

How did you find out about Historypin?

I actually heard about Historypin through my faculty mentor/advisor Dr. Margaret E. I. Kipp. In order to finish up my masters I had to do a few credits worth of fieldwork, and when I approached Margaret about opportunities, Historypin was the first thing she showed me. After looking over the site I knew that it was just the sort of organization that I’d been hoping to work with. From there I got in touch with Jon and the rest is history.

What’s your primary interest of study, and what kinds of innovations do you think are on the horizon in your field? 

My primary areas of study are UX design, metadata, and linked data / the Semantic Web. As someone who has spent a lot of time looking into the ways people interact with information technology, I’m a bit biased towards the notion that the next big wave of innovation is going to come out of a desire to develop technologies around the basic cognitive processes that define the way people understand the world around them. As I see it, the Semantic Web is the ultimate expression of that intention. By restructuring Web content in a way that allows machines to approximate our ability to make inferences we’re laying the foundation to make the process of using the Web much more intuitive. I’m a big fan of Marshall McLuhan, and when you view the Semantic Web through the lens of his theories on media it becomes clear just how much of an extension of our own cognitive faculties it is. I genuinely feel that the innovations that are going to matter in the coming years are going to be those that are rooted in an understanding of the narrowing gap between human thought and digital processing. And not just because Ray Kurzweil’s working for Google.

Since you’ve been working on a lot of back-end and database issues, have you had much of a chance to poke around the content? Have you found any favorites?

Honestly most of my poking around has had more to do with academic articles and resources, but during the times I’ve got to play around with the map I’ve found that the content that interested me most is that which came from my hometown, Lexington, Kentucky. My personal favorite is this picture taken inside the Kentucky Theater, an historic movie theater where I worked for a year when I was an undergraduate at the University of Kentucky. I actually spent many Saturday afternoons taking matinee tickets near the exact spot the band in the picture are standing.

Kentucky Theater, Bird of Paradise Promo, from University of Kentucky Special Collections.

What kind of challenges and opportunities do you see for LAMs in collaborative projects like Historypin?

Collaborative information environments offer an incredible platform for LAMs to share their digital content to the widest possible audience, and in an incredibly efficient fashion. The chance to further develop and refine information resources like Historypin and Europeana is an incredible opportunity for these institutions and one that I’m sure will become increasingly exploited as time goes on. The major challenge that I foresee for the development of collaborative knowledge domains is a lack of interoperability between different systems and their content.

You’ve really been our first “virtual” intern.  How has that experience been for you? Are there things you liked about it or things you would suggest for other people doing virtual internships?

It’s been a great experience that’s really given me the chance to hone my skills and apply many of the lessons I’ve learned as a grad student. What really made it worthwhile was that it allowed me the opportunity to explore a topic I’m passionate about in a way that really worked for me. I’d say that’s ultimately the key to a successful virtual internship, feeling sufficiently invested in the work your doing that you won’t need anyone else to motivate you to do it.

What’s next for you?

Well, now that I’ve “mastered” information science the next logical step is to begin what I hope will be a long and prosperous career as a UX designer and/or a linked data specialist. If anyone out there’s hiring you can find my information at sandrewcrawford.com.


Hi, my name is Nicky Johnston and I am a Historypin novice. While interning for We Are What We Do I have been unleashed on Historypin with a fairly simple task: “Go. Use. Tell us if it doesn’t make any sense…”  To be honest, the website bit was easy.  Instead I was faced with a much more pressing issue, have I actually done anything worth pinning?  I’m only 21.  Sure, I’ve travelled and done all the things you’d expect from a normal British childhood.  But do I deserve to be part of history?

As a final year student my next big moment is graduation.  So, hoping for inspiration I searched for graduation and university and came across this;

Freshmen leaving the Florida Gym, 1962, UF VLT

Florida University 1962

Apart from significantly less hoodies, uggs and iPhones, they were remarkably recognisable as my fellow students.  The group of ‘lads’ swaggering out in the centre.  Girls with notes stuffed into handbags, gossiping in pairs.  A group clustered around the door to question the professor on the day’s lesson.  And so, I deemed this pin-able;

Mini House @ Toga D, March 2010, nicky.johnston

University of York 2010

One day people may say “Why are they wearing bed sheets for clothes?” or “Wow, they’re hairstyles were so new-millenium!” (I sincerely hope fashion has changed to the point where our outfits are unrecognisable as clothing.)  Yet, to the University of Florida’s class of 1960-something we’re probably easily recognisable.  A group of friends, housemates, just having fun before heading back to classes on monday morning.

After all, things haven’t changed too much…

Saturday Night Fever, 18 June 1978, AndyT

University of York 1978


Interview with Kerri Young, Historypin Intern

Name: Kerri

Role: Historypin Intern

Why did you want to intern at Historypin?

I wanted to intern here because Historypin has such a fresh take on engaging the public with history.  I am currently doing an MA in Public History, which is all about the ways in which people engage with history through museums, heritage, television, etc. I love how Historypin is one of the pioneers in this field, making the best use out of something that much of the world now uses: social media. The fit with my area of study is fantastic and provides a great learning opportunity.

How did you come to hear of the project?

I came across Historypin on Twitter. An enthusiastic user described something she had pinned, and I was intrigued about an online-archive that was so hands-on and easily accessible. Anything that helps to promote history in a fun way, I am all for it.

Describe an average day for you as a Historypin Intern.

An average day consists of moderating content that goes up on the site, updating Historypin’s social media accounts, doing some pinning, and finding interesting material for blog posts. Basically, lots of exploring of all the great content that’s out there!

What do you do when you’re not at Historypin?

Since I’m not from around these parts (San Francisco native), I like to explore London and its surroundings as much as I can. I like to visit new museums, go to concerts, and bike-ride in park-when it’s sunny of course! Pub-culture in this country is fantastic as well.

What’s been your best moment here?

I don’t think I can pick one moment, but finding the exact location for vaguely-located photos on Street View is pretty rewarding. In general, it’s great to be able to pick out interesting content and share it with everyone via our blog and Twitter. Sharing is caring!

What excites you the most about Historypin?

What excites me the most is that everyone who explores our map has the chance to be inspired by someone else’s history. The individual moments and stories that are pinned contribute to a larger history of a time, place, or event. Also, that fact that you can travel down a street in Street View where both archival institutions and individual users contribute historical memories is an exciting collaboration between the professional and public spheres.

Unlike your straight-forward online historical archive, Historypin is interactive and visually-fun to explore, and is a great tool for bringing in those who may not engage with history that often.

Can you show us a photo you have personally pinned on Historypin?

Princess Diana Dancing With John Travolta, Nov. 5, 1985.

What’s your favourite photo that has been pinned to the Historypin map and why?

Muni Streetcar 101 and Bus 1 | W5065, 1920, San Francisco MTA Archives

There are so many great photos on the site, but this is one of my favorites because it blends personal and local history with an amazing Street View. This photo shows two old  lines from Muni, which is still San Francisco’s local transportation system. As a native San Franciscan, images like these are fascinating, especially since I and so many other people still use Muni each day. I can’t get enough of local transport images like these, and even wrote a blog post about a similar SFMTA photo. Something mundane like taking the bus every day somehow seems a little less so when having a glimpse at the line’s changing history.

What kind of content would you like to see more of on Historypin?

I would like to see more family and local history on the site, something we are taking great strides towards. Family and community are associated with some of our greatest memories, and I think at its heart Historypin links different ones together from all over the world and places them within a larger historical context. Individual ‘histories’ are definitely changing how we perceive History with a capital H!

Why do you think people should add their photos and stories to Historypin?

This is the chance for people to encourage the spirit of sharing and learning about history with both their local community and the rest of the world. The more people pin, the more the site can grow and encourage the collaboration between individual users and historical institutions. Contributing to our site will also help people find the things they are interested in more easily. Historypin only works when people participate-and that means you!

What do you think the future of Historypin is?

I see Historypin expanding even further through social media, allowing it to utilize more resources and collaborate with more people from all over the world. I also see Historypin becoming a very useful learning tool in the classroom, especially in relation to local community engagement. If students everywhere collaborated on projects akin to Pinning Reading’s History, they can literally put their community ‘on the map’ and expand the often neglected field of local history.

Contact:  kerri.young@wearewhatwedo.org

Interview with Vicky Pearce, Historypin Intern

Name: Vicky Pearce

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?

Napoleon Beach, Cherbourg, 1944

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.

WW1 Troops in Dereham Marketplace, August 1914

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        vicky.pearce@wearewhatwedo.org

Spring Washington DC Internship

We have a unique internship opportunity in Washington DC, our first of many spots that will be opening up in the US over the next few years.

We’re partnering with the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC as they celebrate the centennial of the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry blossom trees bestowed on Washington, DC by Tokyo, Japan.

This internship position will explore digital preservation and online curation in the unique setting of a digital project combined with live event production.  Deadline for application: January 5, 2012.  Full posting can be downloaded here.