Launching Our San Francisco World’s Fair Project on Liberty Bell Day

Rose Marie Cleese displays a handful of old photos and with the help of Kerri Young of Historypin scans the historic pictures at a workstation on the main floor of the California Historical Society Friday, July 17, 2015. Photo by Mike Koozmin, S.F. Examiner.

Rose Marie Cleese displays a handful of old photos and with the help of Kerri Young of Historypin scans the historic pictures at a workstation on the main floor of the California Historical Society Friday, July 17, 2015. Photo by Mike Koozmin, S.F. Examiner.

On July 17th, our US team collaborated in a public launch of Historypin’s new 1915 San Francisco World’s Fair mapping project with the California Historical Society (CHS), on the 100th anniversary of the iconic Liberty Bell arriving at the fair. The Liberty Bell, an American icon and symbol of independence, traveled over 3,000 miles by rail from its home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania after hundreds of thousands of school children signed a petition to get the bell to San Francisco’s Panama Pacific International Exposition (PPIE). In CHS’s gallery festively-decorated with paper bells, Community Officer Kerri Young helped Rose Marie Cleese, the granddaughter of San Francisco’s former Mayor Angelo Rossi (1931-44), scan never-before-seen family photographs into our new digital project.

At the time of the fair, Rossi was a florist who helped design and build the ornate float that carried the Liberty Bell from San Francisco’s Townsend Street rail station to the fairgrounds in what is now the city’s Marina district. Rose Marie contributed photographs of the float on its procession, as well as of her grandparents and mother posing with the Bell in its temporary home in the fair’s Pennsylvania Building. Remarkably, Historypin contributor Lynn Sons was able to identify her own grandfather, who was a member of the Liberty Bell Honor Guard at the fair, in one of the photos that Rose Marie contributed, and we were able to connect the two of them in this piece of shared history.

The Liberty Bell sub-project is a great example of the collaborative archiving we hope to encourage around the PPIE, with institutions such as the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and The San Francisco Public Library contributing along with individuals like Rose Marie and Lynn Sons. We hope that many others will be inspired to contribute their family photographs and help enrich the 2000+ existing pins in the project as we continue to celebrate this special centenary year.

Here are a few photographs of our fun day scanning and pinning:

Scanning station set-up in the California Historical Society with Rose Marie's photographs.

Scanning station set-up in the California Historical Society with Rose Marie’s photographs.

A sample of some of the family photographs brought in by Rose Marie for scanning.

A sample of some of the family photographs brought in by Rose Marie for scanning.

A screenshot one of Rose Marie's photographs in Historypin's Mapping San Francisco's 1915 World's Fair. Angelo Joseph Rossi family clustered around the Liberty Bell. From left to right: Grace Rossi, son Clarence Rossi, daughter Eleanor Rossi, daughter Rosamond Rossi, Angelo J. Rossi.

A screenshot one of Rose Marie’s photographs in Historypin’s Mapping San Francisco’s 1915 World’s Fair. Angelo Joseph Rossi family clustered around the Liberty Bell. From left to right: Grace Rossi, son Clarence Rossi, daughter Eleanor Rossi, daughter Rosamond Rossi, Angelo J. Rossi.

Local news channel ABC 7 interviewing Rose Marie about her photos as eminent SF Chronicle writer Carl Nolte jots down some notes.

Local news channel ABC 7 interviewing Rose Marie about her photos as eminent SF Chronicle writer Carl Nolte jots down some notes.

Showing Rose Marie photos of her grandfather's floral company Pelicano, Rossi & Co. displaying at the fair in photos contributed by UC Davis Libraries. Rose Marie had never seen these previously and was very excited to see that they had been contributed to the project.

Showing Rose Marie photos of her grandfather’s floral company Pelicano, Rossi & Co. displaying at the fair in photos contributed by UC Davis Libraries. Rose Marie had never seen these previously and was very excited to see that they had been contributed to the project!

The Liberty Bell being paraded up San Francisco's Van Ness Ave in July 1915 on the float designed by Rossi. In the foreground is James J. Quirk, identified by his granddaughter Lynn Sons.

The Liberty Bell being paraded up San Francisco’s Van Ness Ave in July 1915 on the float designed by Rossi. In the foreground is James J. Quirk, identified by his granddaughter Lynn Sons.


Three generations of the Rossi family: Rose Marie poses with her nephew Ron Forsell and grandchildren Grace and Matt, while holding a photo of her own mother and grandfather at the PPIE.

See some great local media coverage of this event here and here, and add your own photos or comments about the fair by visiting the project page here.

Mapping Emotions in Victorian London

The project’s main map, showing “pins” of novel passages mapped out throughout London. Map overlay courtesy of the National Library of Scotland.

Mapping Emotions of Victorian London is an experiment that visualizes data about thousands of passages from 1400 Victorian novels, using crowdsourcing to ascribe emotional sentiment to them. We’re proud to launch this third and final project as part of a three year Andrew W. Mellon funded research grant with Stanford University’s Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis exploring the use and design of crowdsourcing to benefit academic research.

You can read more about the project from the Stanford scholars on their site, see our behind-the-scenes work over the last three years, read our paper from Museums and the Web 2015 (slides, paper), articles in the New York Times and FastCoDesign, and look out for two papers being presented at DH2015 in July.

Sevendials: The comments section of an example pin in the project, showing a reference card generated automatically with a Wikipedia url.

An example literary passage from the project. Its mapped location appears on the left, alongside pins for other passages about the same location.


You can search project tags to find passages by specific authors, as with this example search for “Dickens.”


A closer look at the metadata for a literary passage in the project (just click on the 'Pin Metadata' arrow to expand). Shown are tags attributed to each pin, with the options for members of the public to add more tags, and the pin’s copyright information. This includes the percentage of Mechanical Turk users who found this particular passage 'happy' versus 'fearful.'

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

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.

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.


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.

Share your Places that Matter with National Trust of Australia

Woodbridge, shared by National Trust of Australia (WA)

The following post is from our partners at the National Trust of Australia, who have launched This Place Matters Australia.

About the Project: This Place Matters Australia…

This place where you lived, had your baby, saw a gig, met for lunch or fell in love.

This Place Matters.

If it matters to you, it matters to us.  Share your stories, photos, videos and audio clips and help the National Trust celebrate the places that matter.

So pin the places that matter – your houses, gardens, shops, orchards, markets, landscapes, stations and schools and have a look at what matters to us all.

All members of the community are invited to pin their stories, photos, videos and audio clips of places that matter to them.  As long as the place currently exists, we want any information on why it matters.  Anything matters to us if it does to you – it can be because you grew up there, were kissed for the first time there, or just believe the place is important historically or culturally.

How to pin your Places That Matter…

So, pin your place through the This Place Matters Australia project and in the photo/video/audio description tell us:

‘This Place Matters because…’

View our ‘how-to’ open an account and pin to projects guides below or download here.

About History Mysteries…

These Places Matter but we need some help finding out why.  Is it because of who lived here or what happened here? See if you can answer our questions and share these fascinating stories with everyone. Just view the History Mysteries on the This Place Matters Australia project.

American Experience Launches the Engineering Map of America

The original Pennsylvania Station, erected in 1910 in New York City, was a vast structure that occupied two whole city blocks, or 28 acres. Image courtesy of Library of Congress.

New York’s Pennsylvania Station was an incredible achievement of modern engineering, though in the rapidly changing landscape of New York City, it would stand only for a number of decades. As usual, the American Experience team brings this exciting history to life in their new film, The Rise and Fall of Penn Station, on PBS.

As part of the February 18th debut of the film, American Experience has launched the Engineering Map of America. Their team has worked with content partners to map engineering feats across the United States on the interactive map, powered by Historypin. They’ve also updated the American Experience iPhone app, adding another chapter to the Abolitionist Map of America, and now including geolocated video content of America’s most amazing construction projects. Check out their video below about the app.

Commemorating the Fall of the Iron Curtain

2014 will mark 25 years since the destruction of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the iconic moment which began the re-unification of Europe after decades of separation during the Cold War.

To commemorate this momentous event, in partnership with Europeana, we are launching the 1989 Project to help gather the many personal stories, photos, videos, audio clips and documents that chronicle the events of 1989.

Were you there? Do you have a memory of events in central and eastern Europe? If so, we’d love you to add them to the project, directly via the site.

So far, over 6,000 photos and memories have been shared, capturing events in Germany from May 1989 to December 1990 as the process of re-unification began. These have been shared by Deutsche Kinemathek and were collected as part of the Wie Waren So Frei (Moments in Time) project.

Europeana is a digital portal which provides access to more than 25 million digitized objects of cultural heritage from European libraries, archives and museums. They also run collection days to gather and preserve personal artifacts from Europe’s citizens.

The Europeana team will be travelling around central and eastern Europe running collection days where you can bring in your photos, documents, video and audio clips to be digitised and added to the archive for preservation and discovery. To find out about upcoming events and find one near you, take a look at their calendar of events.

To find out more about Europeana and their activities to collect 1989 stories, explore their blog.

Explore the 1989 Project.

Hurricane Sandy: Record, Remember, Rebuild

Today, Historypin is launching Hurricane Sandy: Record, Remember, Rebuild. Together with Google, the Metropolitan New York Library Council, the Society of American Archivists, and the American Association of State and Local History, the project is a shared online collection of local history as captured by individuals and cultural heritage institutions alike.

We hope you’ll join us to share your own stories:, set up a school or local community project to gather content, or add institutional collections to the Hurricane Sandy Project.

Every year, natural disasters wreak havoc on communities around the world, and it can take months, years and even decades for infrastructure and homes to be rebuilt. Lives are lost and disrupted and permanent scars are recorded and remembered in family and neighborhood history for generations.

Seven months after Hurricane Sandy swept over the Caribbean and up the Eastern seaboard of the United States, communities are still rebuilding in its wake. The deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, Sandy left at least 285 people dead across seven countries, with additional material damages of over $75 billion.

Today, Google unveiled new Street View imagery for several locations affected by Hurricane Sandy, underlining the importance of shared community content to connect and remember.

Nick Stanhope, CEO of We Are What We Do (the creators of Historypin), and Executive Director of Historypin, said, “These communities have shown amazing resilience since Hurricane Sandy and we’ve been working with lots of local partners to set up a way for people to remember, share and sustain that process.

We already know that people will use it in many different ways, from practical recreations of pre-storm streets to support ongoing efforts to rebuild through to local stories of neighborhoods coming together during Sandy for mutual support.”

Jason Kucsma, Executive Director of the Metropolitan New York Library Council, added, “Many libraries suffered severe damage from Hurricane Sandy, but that didn’t stop them from continuing to be lifelines for their communities. Libraries throughout the city, despite being heavily impacted by the storm, rolled out relief services to provide communities with food, water, clothing, internet, and perhaps most importantly, authoritative information about the recovery process.” Many of these libraries are now beginning to help collect and preserve media content related to Sandy.

Archives play a central role in long term preservation, helping to examine the past records of disasters and preserve records in the aftermath of new ones. The Society of American Archivists is reaching out to their membership to facilitate participation in this project.

“We’re especially delighted to be working with Historypin, Google, and others to document the impact of Hurricane Sandy,” said Society of American Archivists President Jackie Dooley. “This collaboration matches Historypin’s unique capacity to build community around local history with archivists’ compelling interest in ensuring the completeness, diversity, and accessibility of the historical record. Good things will result from working together!”

Sayer's Wharf, Newport RI, flooded after Hurricane Sandy. Shared by Newport Historical Society on Historypin

Local historical societies give us a unique perspective on the patterns of natural disasters. The Newport Historical Society, for example, has shared photos of Sandy and other hurricanes reaching back to 1938, documenting the way people have come together to help one another again and again.

“It is very important for our nation’s history organizations to participate in projects like this,” said Terry Davis, President and CEO of the America Association of State and Local History. “When a national disaster strikes our country, the power of history plays a crucial role in the cultural preservation and long term recovery of devastated communities. As keepers of our nation’s history, we hold the records and memories of state and local history. AASLH strongly encourages history organizations with connections to the areas affected by Hurricane Sandy to contribute to this important project so that history is not lost forever.”

You can view the project, explore memories of Sandy and make your own contributions at If you need help getting started with sharing your content, please see our how to guides and videos.

Historypin at the Opening of Curating the Bay in San Francisco

Visitors learning about Historypin at our California Historical Society pinning station.

We are pleased to report that this week, our joint crowdsourcing project with Stanford University, Year of the Bay, became a part of an exciting new museum exhibition in San Francisco. The exhibit, called Curating the Bay: Crowdsourcing a New Environmental History, is a collaboration with the California Historical Society (CHS) to open their collections to the public in a new and interactive way.

Museums and archives alike always aspire to having a completed history of a certain topic, and in Curating the Bay the CHS takes a leap into uncharted territory by asking visitors to fill in the blanks rather than presenting them with a finished narrative. Many of the photographs, paintings, and documents in their collections still contain historical mysteries, and the exhibition invites the public to help solve them as well as to contribute their own stories and materials.

This is where Historypin comes in.  Excitingly, we have set up a pinning station within the CHS’s exhibition, so visitors can scan and add their materials into the Year of the Bay project while they are there. And since the project is at, visitors not only from the Bay Area but from all over the world can contribute to the history of San Francisco Bay.

California Historical Society docents learning about Historypin at our pinning station

Up close at our pinning station.

A huge number of people came out in support of the exhibit during its opening this past Sunday, April 7. With music, food, drinks, and good conversation, many visitors expressed excitement at the prospect of contributing to history.

Lots of visitors arriving to the evening opening

One of my favorite parts of the exhibition is a touchscreen display of the Year of the Bay website that we created just for exhibits (pictured below).

A close-up of the custom-made interface of our Year of the Bay touchscreen.

And with great visual flair, the CHS has surrounded the touchscreen display with an analog version of the map of the Bay Area directly behind the touchscreen, complete with pins! As the exhibition continues, they will add visitor contributions to the wall along with their own “pins.” Fantastic!

The wall of San Francisco Bay pins that will be added with visitor contributions during the course of the exhibition.

Visitors exploring the wall and touchscreen during the opening.

With this exhibition and the outreach activities surrounding it, we hope to help create a richer and more diverse history of the San Francisco Bay. Since the opening, we have already received many wonderful contributions to from all over the world. If you are in the Bay Area from now until August 25th, come on down to the exhibition and try your hand at solving some historical mysteries, or follow along online as we tweet about them weekly.

One of the many mystery items in our Curating the Bay exhibit. Can you help us learn more about it?

And finally, videos and pictures are sometimes worth more than words, so here is a short video Historypin has made to explain our exciting new Year of the Bay project. Take a look!

Tony Robinson shares family photos

My dad Leslie is the one on the left. He was a fitter for Hurricanes and Spitfires in WWII. He and his team are holding gasmasks

Tony Robinson, (who many continue to call BaldricBlackadder’s sidekick through the centuries) has opened his family photo album as part of our project Remember How We Used To,  exploring how energy has transformed our lives.

Tony has pinned some lovely photos of his Mum in the 1930s and his Dad who repaired Spitfires and Hurricanes during World War Two. You can check out his Channel here.

But our favourite one has to be this of him popping out of a TV at the Victoria Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent!

Tony Robinson - taken at the Victoria Theatre Stoke on Trent 1967

You definitely couldn’t do that with a modern flat screen 3D HD TV! But you probably could with some of the first models of TVs, radios and other household devices which often resembled small houses.

To see how our favourite pieces of tech have evolved over the decades, take a look at our new interactive Inventions Timeline. From washing machines to the World Wide Web, explore when the devices were invented and became the common household items that we can’t live without.