Announcing California Pride: Mapping LGBTQ Histories

The California Pride project page on Historypin

Today we are excited to launch our newest project California Pride: Mapping LGBTQ Historiesan online archive of memories, stories, and images related to sites throughout the state of California associated with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) experiences.

Supported by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the California Preservation Foundation, and led by architectural and public historians Shayne Watson and Donna Graves respectively, this project aims to identify and interpret historic places associated with LGBTQ history in California. This also includes information about sites important to LGBTQ communities of color, transgender people, the bisexual community, and other under-documented groups within the LGBTQ communities. In a wider context, this project builds on recent studies in San Francisco and Los Angeles that document the critical role California has played in LGBTQ history in the United States.

Jewel Thais-Williams posing inside of Jewel's Catch One in Los Angeles, California. Thais-Williams founded the nightclub in 1973, and not only was it one of the first African American discos in the country, but it was also one of the few places in LA where LGBTQ African Americans felt welcome in the midst of widespread discrimination. Photo by Katie Falkenberg, pinned to California Pride by Shayne Watson.

Explore and upload material online

LGBTQ history is best told by the people who have lived it—you can help this project reflect on the diverse places that tell the stories of the LGBTQ community in the Golden State. Visit the California Pride project on Historypin here, and click the button below or in the project to contribute to the digital archive.

If you have any questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you, just email Kerri at kerri.young@historypin.org.

Memories of The Old Eagle

Last month, the Historypin team were involved in a great photograph and memory sharing event, exploring the history of The Old Eagle pub in Camden, London.

The pub is well known in the area and we were afforded the wonderful opportunity to speak to regulars who have visited The Old Eagle regularly for at least 40 years. This provided some great insight into the pub’s past interior design and some of the characters who once ran the pub.

We really enjoyed the evening we spent there, listening to old stories and looking at old photographs. We even got the chance to catch Whiskey Mick and other session musicians during their weekly jam.

We’re running a similar event soon at The Queen’s Head. We’d love to see you there so come along, bring your friends and share some photographs and stories of a great pub. Anyone is welcome to join, so do get involved, even if it’s just because you’re interested in pub history.

Event details:

Date – Monday 23rd March 2015 7-9pm
Location – The Queen’s Head on 66 Acton Street, London
Contact Lise for more details of the event: lise.denbrok@historypin.org

Hope to see you there.

Launching Our New Panama-Pacific International Exposition Project

Aerial view of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition from the Aeroscope, pinned to our new project by the Anne T. Kent California Room at the Marin County Free Library.

On Saturday, February 21st, Kerri, Jon, and our new intern Krissia participated in a Community Day at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) and to launch our brand-new new project Mapping the PPIE. This world’s fair in the City By the Bay saw almost 19 million people visit over the course of its ten-month lifespan, all celebrating the resilience and rebuilding of a city destroyed in the famous 1906 earthquake and fire. Historypin is one of around 50 core partners helping our friends at the California Historical Society (CHS) celebrate this centennial, and together over the course of this year we will collaborate on many events and celebrations around the Bay Area.

A screenshot of the map within our new PPIE project, where users can pin photos accurately to their corresponding building/pavilion locations in 1915. Thus, while the Palace of Fine Arts remains the only building on the former grounds left (center), this project will help re-envision the area a century ago.

Mapping the PPIE on Historypin is a place for community partners and individuals with personal and archival collections to pin and curate memories and images of the fair. As an exciting feature, our team did some great work on geo-rectifying a map of the PPIE exposition grounds onto Google Maps, so that those who contribute to the project can do so with unprecedented accuracy and help those exploring the project get a sense of the size and scope of the 1915 event. We were able to share this new project on Historypin at Community Day-over 7,000 people showed up to the Palace of Fine Arts- and over the course of the day had fun talking and swapping PPIE stories with a steady stream of visitors.

Community Officer Kerri and new Historypin intern Krissia at the Historypin table at the PPIE Community Day, February 21st, 2015.

Evanna Lynn Dunlop, a 3rd generation San Franciscan, stopped by our table and shared her original 1915 postcard book from the fair passed down from her grandparents. We had fun talking about the massive changes the city has seen since then, and hope to help her pin these photos to our project.

The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco on Community Day, lit as it was a century ago at the Panama Pacific International Exposition in 1915. Built for the fair, it is the only one remaining on the exposition grounds today.

We look forward to getting as much PPIE content into our project as possible over the course of the year, and bringing together your collections to recreate 1915. If you have any questions about the project or about contributing content, please contact Kerri at kerri.young@historypin.org. To see how you can explore the project, check out this video:

 

Do you have memories or photographs of the Magpie and Stump?

The real history of pubs like the Magpie and Stump lives with its people: previous and current landlords, detectives who come for a drink after a case at the Old Bailey, office workers who celebrate the arrival of the weekend and everyone else who has made some connection to the pub.

We’re working with local people to create a shared history of the Magpie and Stump and we need your help to add materials and memories. Everything gathered will be added to the digital archive Historypin.org, where it might even become part of a book about London community pubs.

Join us at the Magpie and Stump for an evening of sharing stories, seeing photos from the Magpie’s archive and hearing anecdotes from local pub historians.

Bring your friends, photos and best stories!

Wednesday 18 February 2015, 5pm – 8pm

Magpie and Stump, 18 Old Bailey, London EC4M 7EP

Explore and upload material online

Visit the Magpie and Stump’s Historypin project here to contribute to the digital archive

Do you have memories or photographs of the Old Eagle?

The real history of pubs like the Old Eagle lives with its people: previous and current landlords, musicians who come for a jam, locals who enjoy a quiet drink on the weekend and everyone else who has made some connection to the pub.

We’re working with local people to create a shared history of the Old Eagle and we need your help to add materials and memories. Everything gathered will be added to the digital archive Historypin.org, where it might even become part of a book about London community pubs.

Join us at the Old Eagle for an evening of sharing stories, seeing archival photos and hearing anecdotes from local pub historians.

Bring your friends, photos and best stories!

Wednesday 25 February 2015, 5pm – 8pm

Old Eagle, 251 Royal College Street, London NW1 9LU

Explore and upload material online

Visit the Old Eagle’s Historypin project here to contribute to the digital archive.

Uncovering Mississippi’s Hidden History

The Biloxi Wade-ins, April 1960. Pinned by Elaine Marsh to Uncovering Mississippi's Hidden History.

Uncovering Mississippi’s Hidden History, one of our newest projects on Historypin, has been created by educators and is designed to help students, fellow educators, and the general public learn about and teach local Mississippi history. Largely focusing on (but not limited to) Civil Rights history, this project has been developed by Teaching for Change, a national non-profit organization that coordinates programs encouraging teachers, students, and parents to build a more equitable, multicultural society through education. We asked Julian Hipkins III, Curriculum Specialist and Mississippi Teacher Fellowship Project Director, and Deborah Menkart, Executive Director, to speak briefly about the driving forces behind Uncovering Mississippi:

What do you hope to achieve with this project, in a nutshell? Why is telling history from the bottom-up so important?

Mississippi has centuries of stories of oppression and resistance which could be used to introduce young people to a deep understanding of race, class, power, politics, civic engagement, the environment, economics, culture, and more in U.S. history. However, Mississippi history is too often presented to students as a series of names and dates about people who have no connection to their lives.

It is our hope that Historypin will encourage young people to research, document, and share the stories of the state’s untold history. In addition, by examining history from the bottom-up, students can understand that anyone can impact history. 

We were inspired to pursue the partnership with Historypin after hearing from young people about the power of uncovering their local history. Working with a local history project in McComb, Mississippi, students said:

 “I used to think my town was small and unimportant, now I’m proud of where I’m from,”

 “I learned I can make history by what I do in life,”

 “I feel more strongly about exercising my right to vote.”

Through the historypins, young people can recognize the powerful stories in their community and state history ­­and make history themselves. 

What is an example of the kinds of activities teachers and other educators will run over the platform?

Teachers and other educators will be using the website to engage their students in uncovering and documenting untold history. For example, during any period of history they are studying, students could document and pin local history examples (gravestones of soldiers during study of WWII; churches burned and/or schools integrated during study of the Civil Rights Movement; farms established during the New Deal; locations for protests during labor and the long Civil Rights Movement).

Teachers may also have students look for related sites throughout the state and connect with teachers, students, or classes to compare notes (or even compete!). 

These stories can be used by teachers and students to develop reading, writing, and critical thinking skills; civic engagement; and improve personal racial identity and race relations.

Teaching for Change will be working with teachers throughout Mississippi on the project. If you have questions about the project, please contact Kerri Young at Historypin or Julian Hipkins III at Teaching for Change.

The project page on Historypin.

You can start exploring the project and add your own content here.

New Project: The Wartime Films with the US National Archives

Our visit exploring the US National Archives' film preservation lab, whose team we will be working with over the coming months.

We are very excited to announce a new partnership that we’ll be embarking upon with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), based in Maryland and Washington D.C. The Archives preserve and provide access to the U.S. Government’s collection of documents recording the important events in American history, with their archival holdings numbering more than 10 billion pages of unique documents.

Specifically, we’ll be inviting the public to participate, collaborate, and engage with the archives’ extensive collection of both World War I and World War II moving images. Taking advantage of the public domain status of this newly digitized and expertly preserved content, we’ll encourage the widest possible distribution and discovery of this wartime media across a variety of community networks, as well as existing networks of NARA and Historypin.

War Department film made during WWII detailing the importance of film for training, morale, and entertainment purposes. This is just an example of the vast war film holdings at NARA, accessed on their YouTube Channel.

Context is key, and we will work closely with NARA specialists to show the many sides of the American and international experience of both global conflicts, as well as stories from the homefront. Across Historypin and other interactive platforms, our overall aim is to build a wide-reaching and engaged community around this rich content, while aiding in NARA’s continued mission to provide free and open access to America’s cultural heritage.

Over the past few months, we have worked on identifying key target audiences that have engaged with NARA content or might find it valuable, as well as those with plans to run commemoration events around upcoming WWI and WWII anniversaries. This is the first step on our journey to help more people access NARA’s vast and valuable holdings.

Everyone loves a good open access metaphor: Me trying to gain access to the National Archives building in Washington D.C. through the original main entrance, June 2014.

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.

Seeking Contributions to Remember Abraham Lincoln

The following is a guest blog post from the crack team at Ford’s Theatre, who are combing personal and institutional collections the world over to help document, recreate, and share the sentiments of the days following Lincoln’s assassination.  Do you have something to contribute?

The assassination of President Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., on Friday, April 14, 1865, shook the nation and the world. People expressed a range of emotions—shock, sadness, jubilation—and shared their thoughts and feelings in a wide variety of ways.

Phoenix Steam Fire Engine No. 3 of Detroit as it apeared in the funeral procession of the late President, shared by Detroit Historical Society

To capture that emotion and connect people with it today, we at the Ford’s Theatre Society, along with over a dozen partner organizations, are in the process of creating a digital collection called Remembering Lincoln.

Our goal is to make this national story local, for people around the United States and around the world. Yes, many of the major events took place in the area surrounding Washington. But literally millions of people turned out in the cities where Lincoln’s funeral train traveled, such as Columbus, Ohio.

Beyond those places, people mourned—and a few celebrated—in localities all over the map.  It has been remarkable to learn of the varied responses and letters of condolence that ambassadors and others received from around the globe.

To represent those responses – local to each community – Ford’s Theatre is working with a range of partner organizations—many of them state and local historical societies—to digitize relevant items in their collections. These can include diaries, newspapers, letters, photos, engravings, mourning ribbons, pieces of clothing, poems—any way that people represented their responses. We are in the process of creating a website to display those items.

Here  are some of the ways that people expressed their responses in the days and weeks after the assassination:

But we also know that our partner organizations don’t have all of the responses to the assassination in their collections. Many responses are hidden away, whether in libraries, archives, museums, local historical societies, or even people’s attics.  And those responses may help shed light on the world of 1865 and better understand how people were living their lives and who we are today as a result.

Thus, we’re working with Historypin to help surface some of these buried treasures. On our project page, you can see items that have come in—and pin your own!

Already, a treasure has come to the surface. Not long after we launched our project on April 14 (the 149th anniversary of the Lincoln assassination), Laura Goetz of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, remembered a display case in the Portage County Courthouse, where she often works. The display case contains items several items from Wisconsin soldier W.H. Noble, who served in the honor guard on Lincoln’s funeral train.

So, Laura went to the courthouse, took some photos, and started pinning them to Historypin! After we emailed with each other, she went to talk with the Clerk of Courts, who was thrilled that the items in the display case would be part of a national project. They managed to track down the owner—a descendant of Noble—and are working with her to digitize the items.

We need your help to bring more items like these to the surface! Do you, or does your organization, have a relevant response to the Lincoln assassination? Read more about what we’re looking for, then pin it to our Historypin page!

Once you do, we’ll ask you some questions about the item, and then potentially put it into the Remembering Lincoln digital collection.

Reflections on Putting Art on the Map

Over the last year we have been running Putting Art on the Map in partnership with the Imperial War Museum. With funding from the Nesta R&D Digital Innovation Fund we were able to test if crowdsourcing an art collection, in online and offline spaces, could generate deeper engagement with the collection. Through mystery-solving tools on Historypin and a series of live events with other institutional partners, we explored different ways of inviting the public to participate, collaborate and contribute new pieces of information to the artworks. The contributions fed into a co-curated Google Art Project by Dr Alice Strickland and the data gathered flowed back into IWMs’ collections.

Throughout the project there were strong examples of public contributions and evidence of deep engagement. However, the primary insight from by this project was that while metadata crowdsourcing in this form can deepen the social engagement of audiences that already have an interest in the subject or collection in question, it struggles to increase the initial breadth of engagement and does not show potential to engage new audiences.
In addition to this important distinction, we learned some key lessons about how to improve a crowdsouring project focusing on deepening engagement between interested audiences and an art collection:

  • Broad, open calls to action for people interested in First World War art were not effective in engaging a wider audience, while identifying specific communities of interest and requesting their help was more useful.
  • Inviting specific communities to engage their own existing networks was more effective in generating participation than trying to build a new community around a theme or topic
  • The ability to give clarity of purpose to participants in user-generated content projects is essential for their success, as is the need to explicitly value the expertise of users.
  • A high level of curatorial input from across different institutional departments, not just the art department, is important to ensure that the correct questions are being asked and participants feel their participation is genuinely needed and valued
  • Inviting factual contributions about an art collection is more challenging than other historical materials because of the role of artistic interpretation. This was often cited by participants who felt that it wasn’t possible or relevant to add factual details. Focusing on works which were more documentary in nature helped, but it was still a barrier to soliciting factual data.

Finally, the project raised new questions and highlighted several areas that need more research, experimentation and development to better understand them before effective tools, methods and outcomes can be determined. Of greatest interest to us is the relationship between online and offline participation. This offers great potential to increase and sustain engagement, but it is not yet clear how they relate in terms of participants moving between the two spaces, or with regard to if and how digital tools might be used during a live, group event. Over the coming year we will be continuing to explore these questions through other projects and iterating both our crowdsourcing toolset and methodologies for running collaborative, offline events.

We are compiling a full Research Report which we will post here once it is completed.