Historypin heads to Brighton

The Historypin Team is getting excited as next week we will be hitting the road and heading down to Brighton to take part in Our Digital Planet.

Created by the Nominet Trust, Our Digital Planet is an outdoor street gallery exhibition demonstrating the power the internet has to change our lives for the better.

We’ll be down on the Promenade on Wednesday 22nd August to show some of the ace photos that have been pinned and help you add your memories about Brighton. So come down and say hello, armed with photos and stories to add!

If you can’t wait until Wednesday, Our Digital Planet will be in town from Thursday 16th August until Monday 3rd September. There will be an outdoor street gallery exhibition showcasing 24 thought-provoking images of the social impact of the internet, and a drop-in internet station where you can chat to Nominet volunteers about how to get started online or get more out of using the internet. And don’t forget to check the timetable for other activities that you can get involved with during the week from folks like We’re Altogether Better, DigitalMe and Made with Jam.

Don’t live in Brighton? Don’t worry, Our Digital Planet will be hopping all over the UK over the next few months. To find out more about other locations and details about Brighton activities, visit their website.

Hope to see you on the 22nd!

Introducing our new CTO

We’re very excited to introduce Mark Frost, who joins our London team as We Are What We Do’s new Chief Technical Officer.

Over the last few years, we’ve been lucky enough to have some fantastic developers, planners and designers come into the team and develop a stream of successful digital projects like Internet Buttons, the Action Tracker and, of course, Historypin. In June, we set out to find someone that could lead this team to the next stage of strategic development and high quality delivery. In July, we bumped in Mark and, just on Monday, he started as CTO.

Mark comes from a perfect background for We Are What We Do, learning his trade in Silicon Valley and making his way through top roles at AOL UK, the BBC and Capital Radio Group. Just as importantly, Mark is passionate about what we do and about using technology and creativity to create products that can change behaviours and affect major issues. Definitely more importantly, he has a whippet and makes his own olive oil.

We can’t wait to get stuck in with Mark. Historypin, in particular, has reached substantial scale and complexity and our other work, as it grows and evolves, demands the experience and confidence that he brings and which has already started to rub off on the team.

We’ll get Mark on stage shortly – he does a great Dock of the Bay – and in the meantime, have a read of his profile on our team page.

New iPhone app

Our all-new iPhone app has just been released and is now available in the app store.

The app helps you discover windows into the past by seeing and interacting with the history all around you.

In the new version, we’ve completely redesigned the interface to make it more usable and enjoyable to use. Plus, you can also now explore Tours on your phone, walking you step-by-step through a series pieces of themed content pinned to a route on the map. You can also now watch and listen to video and audio clips which have been pinned.

The new app now also shows all users’ Channels, so you can easily find everything uploaded and curated by individuals and institutions from around the world, including people like the US National Archives, Imperial War Museums and The English Heritage Archive. Everyone with a Channel on the Historypin site has a Channel on the app, so if you have a Channel, this app features your content!

The app keeps the core functionality it always had – revealing photos near your current location, allowing you to view them layered over the modern scene in front of you, exploring Collections of some of the best old photos from around the world and adding your own content to Historypin by using your phone to digitise an old photo, capture a modern moment of historic importance, or take a modern replica of a photo on the app.

And of course it still has everyone’s favourite feature: where if you shake it, shake it, shake it, shake it, shake it, shake it like polaroid picture, your phone will bring up a random awesome old photo.

Hope you like it.

Historypin named one of the best Family History Websites!

Historypin has been named one of the 101 Best Family History Websites by Family Tree Magazine! You can find us in the Old Photos and Maps section alongside some other neat historical sites.

To celebrate, here are a few of great Pinners who have been sharing their family history on Historypin:

Geoff Drew – Geoff has added an amazing 100 photos that trace his family over 100 years, with pins as far apart as Devon in the UK and Queensland in Australia.

The Richeys – An exploration of family history in NYC, USA

A Sentimental Journey – J.G. Repshire’s mission to chronicle the life and family of Harold Rea during the Great Depression and World War Two.

EastMarple1 – Some great family snaps here, including the one that features on EastMarple’s banner.

Have you got photos of your Grandad’s first car? Your Grandma’s wedding? Add them to our Grandparents Collection.

Pin your Olympic Memories!

Athletics at the 1st Olympiad in 1896

The Games are about to begin and we’ve launched our Olympic Memory Collection to collect the amazing photos, videos and stories from previous Olympiads and from this year’s extravaganza in London.

Browse the map to explore photos from every Olympics since the first in one way back in 1896. Some highlights include the 10 Mile Walk in 1908 (don’t forget your top hat if you’re an official), Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Games and Usain Bolt winning gold at the 2008 Olympics.

Over the decades there have been some very amusing outfits (from athletes and fans!) and some unusual events. Have a flick through our Weird and Wonderful Collection to see some of our faves.

Been watching the Olympic flame travel around the UK? Take a Tour and follow the 1948 Torch Relay which only visited a dozen places in before the Austerity Games.

Slide through our timeline for a potted history of the Olympic Games featuring some little known facts and fun photos.

Are you a teacher or youth worker looking for activities? Download our free activities pack which includes a game, lesson plans and tipsheets for gathering photos.

Have you got photos and memories of previous Olympics? A snap of the Torch passing through your area? Add them to our Collection.

And if you’re lucky enough to be going to this years sporting extravaganza, don’t forget to add your images, videos and stories!

Historypin on the Radio, plus how-to’s in Australian!

We’ve been getting lots of love in Australia lately! Most recently, one of our partners, Museum Victoria, did a radio interview about their contributions to Historypin.

The fabulous Ely Wallis alerted us to it with a Tweet.  Thanks Ely and Gerard Callinan at the ABC! You can have a listen to it here: gc-history-pin-23-7.

And if that wasn’t enough, we heard from our friends over at the Bright Ideas Blog, which is a fantastic resource from the School Library Association of Victoria and the State Library of Victoria.  It turns out they’ve used Storify to create an embeddable resource guide on how to get started pinning on Historypin, full of all sorts of video tips on using our site!  Thanks for creating such a great resource–you guys are the best!  We’ve embedded the videos below–very clever!

We’ve won an award!

Historypin has been named one of the Best Websites for Teaching & Learning by the American Association of School Librarians!

Historypin is being used by heaps of teachers, students and educational groups around the world. As well as teachers using it in lessons, students have turned into archivists gathering and pinning photos from their family, whilst others have run inter-generational storytelling sessions to capture stories from members of their local communities.

For tips on how to use Historypin in the classroom and to download our free resources & activity packs, visit our schools resources section.

Are you using Historypin as a teaching tool? Got ideas for how to use it in the classroom? Let us know and we will add you to our blog of good ideas.

John Gay, Rupert Potter, English Heritage’s own

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Introducing our new Director of Historypin Australia

As Historypin grows and takes on different lives in different communities all over the world, we’ve been looking to get good people to lead the project in some of those places.

After putting down roots in San Francisco with Jon Voss, we are now very pleased to be able to launch Historypin Australia in the form of Dr. Sarah Barns, our fantastic new team member and territory Director.

Sarah has a very strong, relevant background in the digital, creative and arts sectors and has been part of a small group of pioneers exploring geo-web and location publishing in Australia.

Specifically, Sarah has spent the past five years experimenting with how the documentary histories of urban sites might be unearthed using location-based services, using a range of media including sound and radio archives, film, photography and maps.

This work has included the production of the ABC’s Sydney Sidetracks in 2008 and co-production of the wonderful Unguarded Moments for the City of Sydney’s Art & About Festival in 2011.

The arrival of Dr Barns (FYI very useful in a geo-spatial heritage emergency, not useful if you’re ill on a plane), comes in the wake of some really exciting developments down under.

These have seen over 25 libraries, archives and museums come on board since Historypin’s launch in July last year, including Museum Victoria sharing the largest collection of images to date via their new Historypin Channel and a close collaboration with the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, with whom we recently announced plans to launch the first national Historypinning campaign in 2013, with a year of events and activities planned across the country.

For more on the national campaign and Sarah’s progress in Australia, keep an eye on the blog and you can get in touch at sarah.barns@wearewhatwedo.org.

All new Historypin Community pages!


Are you a pinner? A teacher? Someone looking to run a Historypin project in your local area?

Have a look at our brand new Historypin Community pages where you can find the  latest news such as who’s been chosen as Pinner of the Week and what Historypin Challenges you can get involved with.

We’ve also got how to guides and a heap of other materials to give you some ideas and tips on how to use Historypin.

If you’re a teacher, check out our schools section which includes:

If you’re interested in running a project with your community, check out our Local Projects section which has lots of useful materials: