Name: Chloe Chandler
Role: Historypin Intern
Why did you want to intern at Historypin?
Why 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: