Memories of Migration Project to launch in 2015

We’re excited to announce that Historypin has teamed up with the Santa Ana Public Library to launch the Memories of Migration project, with support from the Institute for Museum and Library Services through the award of a $495,000 National Leadership Grant.

The three year project will be led by the Santa Ana Public Library and provide innovative programs for teens to focus on community memory and the many diverse stories of human migration over time.  The project builds on their successful Teen Historian program, which combines web and new media training with storytelling.

Teen Historians at Santa Ana Public Library recording interviews of Mexican American veterans.

Memories of Migration compliments and celebrates the vital role that libraries play in the lives of new immigrant families and will serve public libraries with meaningful programs and enrichment activities that meet the following goals:

  • provide new immigrant communities a participatory voice in library collections and events
  • increase digital literacy and provide learning in Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) to new immigrant teens and young adults through digital training in new media and digitization technologies
  • strengthen libraries as anchors of intergenerational and intercultural dialogue on both a local and national level.

Techniques developed by the Santa Ana Public Library will be tested and enhanced in model programs operated by four partner libraries and agencies that serve new immigrant communities across the country.  Queens Library (Queens, NY), West Hartford Public Library, (West Hartford, CT), the State of New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs and New Mexico Highlands University (Las Vegas, NM) have also developed innovative youth engagement and public memory projects and will join our team to develop and expand the program, addressing the needs of their diverse communities in a mixture of urban, suburban and rural settings.

An additional partner in the progam, Project GADO, will provide teens training in the use of scanning robots that will facilitate the digitization of the histories, while another, Orange County Reforma, will organize a local conference on Latino history to kick off the information collection process.

The Memories of Migration public launch is scheduled for the summer of 2015.  For further information about the project, please contact Jon Voss, Strategic Partnership Director at Historypin, or Cheryl Eberly, Principal Librarian, Young Adult Services at Santa Ana Public Library.

Historypin is back in Austin!

Going to be in Austin next week? So are we! We’re back at SXSW with an exciting global panel entitled 100 Years of Oversharing: Tools for Time Travel, happening March 10 at 12:30pm in the Convention Center.

And if that’s not enough, we helped put together a roundtable of amazing dreamers and doers from around the world which is free and open to the public at the #IdeaDrop House. The panel was called Backporch Beers Roundtable: Mashup Culture, made possible by E-Resources and Libraries (ER&L), ProQuest and the Digital Library Federation (DLF).  The conversation was hosted by Historypin’s Jon Voss and Rachel Frick of the Digital Library Federation.  

Don’t worry, this isn’t actually an hour and a half long, we broke it into two 30 minute sessions with a 20 minute break in between since we couldn’t fit everyone on the couch. Group one considered copyright and examples that push the boundaries in GLAMs and included Keir Winesmith, Head of Web and Digital Projects, SFMOMA; Molly Jacobs, Web Producer, American Experience/PBS; Heather Champ, Community & Content, Findery; and Richard Vijgen, Information Designer.

Group 2 starts at about 46 minutes into the recording and explores some global examples of creative reuses of library and museum spaces and content. This group featured Daniel Flood, Creative Production Manager, The Edge, State Library of Queensland; Johan Oomen, Manager R&D, Netherlands Institute of Sound & Vision; Kathryn Jaller, New Media Manager, Contemporary Jewish Museum; and Joe Voss, Senior Counsel, Clark Hill PLC.

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:


Putting Art on the Map: the story so far

We have been busy bees working on the Putting Art On the Map project. We’ve been collecting lots of answers to questions about the brilliant artworks from the Imperial War Museums‘ First world war art collection. All of the works we have focused on have a thread compiled on our Historypin Storify channel. Keep an eye on this for more stories.

Below is a Storify of a brilliant painting by Anna Airy called  A Shell Forge at a National Projectile Factory. Where was this factory and what are the shells they are making? Take a read to find out.


Even more Historypin Storify!

Here are the links to all the other works that we have been exploring since the project launched at the beginning of August. Click on the links and have a read.

7 August 2013 Paul Nash The Ypres Salient at night

9 August 2013 Stanley Spencer Travoys Arriving with Wounded at a Dressing-Station at Smol, Macedonia

12 August 2013 Henry Lamb, Irish Troops in the Judaean Hills Surprised By A Turkish Bombardment

16 August 2013 John Nash Over the Top

23 August 2013 Flora Lion Women’s Canteen at Phoenix Works, Bradford

27-30 August 2013 Anna Airy A Shell Forge at a National Projectile Factory

2-6 September 2013 Bernard Meninsky Victoria Station, District Railway

9-13 September 2013 Henry Tonks An Advanced Dressing Station in France


Historypin gets a spot in Google’s 1 million maps video

Google has been showing off the many uses of their Maps API and Historypin got some screen time! The video was shown at Google I/O, their annual conference for developers – we have our cameo at about 1min 20 sec:

The photo featured was a great snap from the US Library of Congress of a conga line outside the White House to celebrate the end of World War Two:

V-J day: Dancing on the White House lawn, August 1945, shared by US Library of Congress

Investing in the Creative Reuse of Cultural Heritage

Historypin is proud to join with 26 other partners from across the European cultural heritage, technology, creative, media, and academic sectors for an exciting 30 month project designed to demonstrate and instigate the creative reuse and remixing of digital cultural heritage. 

eCreative kickoff at the Austrian National Library. (Thx to Max Kaiser for group photo and Erwin Verbruggen for the mashup!)

The online portal Europeana provides access to more than 25 million digitized objects of cultural heritage from European libraries, archives and museums. The Europeana Creative project will actively encourage and promote the creative reuse of digital cultural heritage and associated metadata made available through Europeana. As part of the project, a number of test applications will be developed as proof of concepts and which are being designed together with a number of events to spur innovation and further development by entrepreneurs from the creative industries.

The project was officially launched in February at the Austrian National Library in Vienna meeting where representatives of all of the partner organizations were assembled. There were presentations on the various work packages and workshops were used for the further development of the specific plans and tasks.


The Europeana Creative project will demonstrate that Europeana can facilitate the creative re-use of cultural heritage metadata and content. The project will establish an Open Laboratory Network, create a legal and business framework for content re-use and implement all needed technical infrastructure.


In the last few years we’ve seen a growing global convergence of communities working toward usability and discovery of openly licensed cultural heritage assets and data. Increasingly, the cherished institutions that have for so long provided stewardship of these materials and their accompanying data are embracing and investing in new ways of providing access to this information, opening a new world of possibilities for how we celebrate our shared global history. We’ve seen this trend illustrated across Europe.

The reuse of open data is an important part of the Digital Agenda for Europe.  There’s been several major activities recently throughout Europe to celebrate and stimulate the reuse of cultural heritage, such as the Open Knowledge Festival in Helsinki last fall, and GLAM-WIKI 2013 held in London earlier this month to name a few.  Last year, the Hack4Europe! competition was organized to develop applications to demonstrate the social and economic value of open cultural data.

In September 2012, Europeana encouraged the development of innovative applications by publishing the metadata for 25 million cultural heritage objects under the terms of the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication 0 (CC0) license, and have also provided free and open access to the metadata through Application Programming Interfaces and Linked Open Data. Europeana Creative will not only use this metadata, but also many of the digital objects themselves, which are available for re-use together with the necessary licenses.


The project will create five pilot applications in the thematic areas of History Education, Natural History Education, Tourism, Social Networks, and Design, then conduct open innovation challenges to identify, incubate and spin-off viable projects into the commercial sector.

Pilot → Challenge → Spin-off: the workflow for pilot development. This is further illustrated in the Work Package 4 presentation on Slideshare.

The project will also undertake an extensive stakeholder engagement campaign promoting the benefits of cultural heritage content re-use to creative industries and to memory institutions.


Historypin will be focusing on increased data integration with Europeana as well as creative reuse of geolocated sound archives as part of the Social Networks pilot.  We’re excited to feature a number of sound recordings and themes on Historypin from Europeana partners, including the British Library Sound Archive, and work package leader Netherlands Institute of Sound and Vision. We’ll also be getting  support in this work package from Ontotext AD.


The project brings together 26 partners from 14 different countries and is a strong alliance between:

  • the Europeana Foundation, with access to 2,200 + cultural institutions
  • Creative hubs and organizations that have access to the creative industries and professionals in the tourism and educational sectors in Europe
  • Living Labs in four countries (Spain, France, Finland and Belgium)
  • Technical and multimedia experts
  • Business planning experts
  • Partners who provide material from their cultural heritage institution or museum.

The full list of participants and more information about the project can be found on the Europeana Creative website.  Many thanks to Lizzy Komen for her original post which I borrowed heavily from!

Europeana Creative is a project co-funded by the European Commission under the CIP program 2007-2013.

We’re hiring!

Volunteers and Historypin staff at Magic Me pinning session.

We’re excited to announce that we are recruiting two new positions on the Historypin Team:

Behind the scenes tours of the most venerable historical institutions of the world? Check. Pinning dusty old photos to a map in a pub and hearing the hilarious or heartbreaking stories behind them? Check.

Project Officers are responsible for supporting the delivery of our growing portfolio of Historypin Projects around the world. From liaising with stakeholders to running activities with local communities, you’ll be involved with innovative projects combining digital and on-the-ground engagement.

As part of our creative and dynamic team, Project Officers will also play an integral role in the development of Historypin. In particular they will be involved with the research, testing and refinement  of new toolsets for crowd-sourcing of historical content and collaborative storytelling.

If you’re passionate about cultural heritage and community engagement, read more about the roles and apply here:

Project Officer, London

Project Officer, San Francisco

Historypin Visits in Australia & New Zealand

I know it’s a little last minute, but if you’re in Brisbane, Sydney, Perth or Auckland, we’d love to see you!

Brisbane, ALIA Information Online conference.  Wednesday 13 Feb, Jon Voss joins Roy Tennant and Ingrid Mason in keynote.  Friday 15 Feb, State Library of Queensland hosts Historypin walk in Brisbane CBD.

Sydney. Tuesday 19 Feb, Powerhouse Museum hosts Historypin user group and talk with Jon Voss. 10am-noon.  More details and free registration here.

Auckland. 21 Feb. Jon Voss giving a talk and meetup, details tbd.

Perth, early March. Rebekkah Abraham available for workshops and meetings, tbd.

Please contact Jon or Rebekkah directly if you’re interested in meeting up or hosting something at your institution.


All new Historypin!

We are proud to launch a brand new Historypin!

After months of researching, planning, designing, testing and building we are ready to share with you all a major new redesign which, we hope, shows off all your content in the best possible light and gives you lots of new features to enjoy.

The all new homepage now has a Pin of the Day gallery, so the winning images of this prestigious award can be easily seen by all. You can also look back through past winners. Upload your best images to be in for a chance of featuring here.

We also have a brand new totaliser, the arrival of which is well timed as we have just reached 200,000 materials shared on Historypin. Thankyou to every one of you that has contributed to this figure.

You can now see every item added to Historypin in the new Activity Feed, which shows what you are all doing on the site, be it adding photos, videos and audio clips, favoriting other people’s contributions, adding comments, creating Tours and Collections or adding items to Projects.

Projects are also a new feature. They bring together content around certain themes. We now have several projects including Year of the bayRemember how we used to… and My Grandparents are better than yours for you to explore, add to and comment on.

Loads of work has gone into tidying things up, beautifying and simplifying the user experience and interface, plus there has been lots of techy work finding solutions to difficult problems behind the scenes. A massive thankyou and congratulations is due to the creative and digital teams – check out their faces here.

Historypin Repeats in the New York Times

We were excited to see Historypin in the New York Times again today, this time in an article about websites utilizing time and place data to organize photos.  They featured a Historypin Repeat that I did with a favorite old photo of my dad at the Jefferson Memorial around 1949 when he was in school at the Theological College at Catholic University. I love being able to insert myself into history, and imagining the conversation I could have with my dad at that age.

In any case, you can read the article in the New York Times, and see that particular Repeat on Historypin.