Recap: Historypin’s Homefront 1945 Event with the US National Archives

Attendees enjoying the film program at our Homefront 1945 event on November 8, 2014.

We would like to present some scenes from our successful Homefront 1945 event at the Rio Theater in Northern California on November 8th, 2014, part of our collaboration with the US National Archives to help share and reuse their diverse audiovisual records of World War I and World War II.

This is designed to be a replicable event that you could do at your own theater or local history museum either with a Hollywood blockbuster like Fury or Unbroken, a classic movie, or your own content. The National Archives and Historypin can provide programming ideas and guidelines as well as copies of the historical films and posters you see here. If you’re interested, please contact Kerri Young for more information.

The special movie event let us share some of NARA’s special content with audiences in the San Francisco Bay Area. Fury, starring Brad Pitt as a tank commander nearing the dangerous final days of fighting in Germany during World War II, acted as the centerpiece to a full program of time-traveling back to WWII, held at the 1940′s Quonset hut Rio Theater and Cafe.

The evening featured digitally restored WWII NARA films, including The True Glory, in the background during a vintage dinner that featured modern takes on wartime foods. Attendees from all over the Bay Area spent about an hour listening to and sharing stories of what it was like in the area during those days. In-between stories, Historypin’s Jon Voss helped to raffle-off reproductions of vintage posters and DVDs from NARA, and Fury posters from Sony Entertainment. Before the film screening itself, the modern movie trailers were replaced with a cartoon, featurette and newly-digitized newsreels from April 1945 that would have been played in theaters at that time, all from the holdings of the National Archives.

The Rio Theater where we held our event, a few hours north of San Francisco.

Specially-designed posters for our event, posted over an official Fury poster.

Enjoying a modern take on wartime foods with a special menu from the Theater.

Hearing stories of what the homefront in Bay was like during World War II.

Raffling-off wartime-era posters from NARA's archives. Raffle tickets were included in reproductions of ration booklets from WWII, which each attendee received.

This event was hopefully the first of many in the kind of experiential learning we want to engage audiences with for our wartime films campaign, and provided just a small sampling of the audiovisual materials from World War I and World War II that we hope to connect with as wide an audience as possible.

On behalf of the National Archives and Historypin, we’d like to thank the California Historical Society for their co-promotions and the Russian River Historical Society for connecting us with an amazing lineup of storytellers who shared their history on the river, from fighter jet fly-unders of the Guerneville bridge to stories of the Japanese American residents of area before and after their forced imprisonment.

Becontree mural launch!

Have you drunk at The Merry Fiddler? Saved the day at Ley’s swimming pool? Or perhaps dived straight in at Dagenham Town Show?

Becontree’s colourful history will soon to be bought to life with the launch of a new mural at Valence House Museum & Visitor Centre. Artist Chad McCail has painted a 100 year history of the Becontree Estate, inspired by the photos, memories and stories shared by local people as part of This Used to be Fields. Everyone is invited to join the free launch celebration.

 

Venue: Valence House Museum & Visitor Centre, Dagenham, Essex, RM8 3HT

Date: Saturday 25th October

Time: 2pm-5pm

Free & un-ticketed (just turn up)

 

Chad McCail and Create will be there to introduce the mural, and Historypin will be on hand sharing our favourite local photos, films and stories in our ‘Becontree Memory Box’. The This Used to be Fields archive is yours to explore and contribute to, so dig around in your attics, dust off those old photo albums, and bring along your Becontree images to be shown, scanned, and shared.

You’ll be able to share them in comfort with friends and family too, as they’ll be free tea, coffee and cake provided, as well as some specially created arts activities for children from Scribble & Smudge

This Used to be Fields is a collaborative project delivered by Historypin and Create. The project has been commissioned by the Barbican, with funding from the Arts Council of England and additional support from Creative Barking and Dagenham.

Suffolk University Offers Free Online History of Boston Class Utilizing Historypin

Registration is now open for Suffolk University’s first free online course, The History of Boston. The course will engage Bostonians, tourists, history buffs and students worldwide with the Boston events and people that brought the spark of democracy to the world. The course is available beginning Oct. 20, 2014 and is free and open to the general public.

The course explores Boston from the 1600’s to the present day. Learn about the Massachusett Indians who lived there before the Puritans arrived. Discover how these settlers created a system of self government so strong that Boston became the most democratic community on the planet and the birthplace of the American Revolutionary War. Trace the city’s role in the American anti-slavery movement and the Civil War.

The course includes a virtual tour of Boston, featuring many of the city’s best known landmarks and sites like the Freedom Trail, USS Constitution, State House, Harbor Islands, Waterworks Museum, Lowell Mills, Old North Church, Kings Chapel, Boston Common, Faneuil Hall, the Esplanade, African Meeting House and more. It also features interviews with many of Boston’s most fascinating activists, artists, scholars and politicians that provide perspective on Boston’s influence on culture and politics.

“There’s no reason that learning can’t be fun, and we created an interactive, fact-filled course that will attract a wide range of people – from out-of-town students beginning their studies in Boston, to tourists visiting the city, and to business people coming into town for conferences and meetings,” said David Kusek of Digital Cowboys, who produced the online course for Suffolk University.

Registration: https://www.canvas.net/courses/history-of-boston

Detailed course information: http://historyofboston.org/

Year of the Bay: Inner Sunset Photos and Mysteries from the San Francisco Public Library

800 Irving St., 1949. From the History Room at the San Francisco Public Library.

This week our friends at the San Francisco Public Library contributed another great set of neighborhood photos to our Year of the Bay archive, featuring the Inner Sunset District. Those familiar with this area, developed after 1887 by real estate investors (prior to this the area was all sand dunes), know very well that the “Sunset District” has little to do with sunshine and all to do with that famous San Francisco fog. Today, in a rapidly developing city, the area still manages to retain the feeling of a small town, with plenty of mom-and-pop diners, drug stores, and grocery stores.

The San Francisco Public Library’s photo set of the Inner Sunset captures these kinds of small businesses that make the area so beloved by locals, mostly during the period between 1946-1952.

Billing's Dime Store near 10th and Irving, c.1946-52.

Most of the Inner Sunset photos have been Street Viewed as well, and you can view these by clicking on the "Street View" tab of the pin's dialog box.

Some of the SFPL's Inner Sunset photographs as date mysteries. Login to your free Historypin account, and press the "Solve" button next to the photo you'd like to make a guess at.

Many of these photos still need exact dates, and we’d love for you to leave your comments and suggestions to the photos in our Mysteries section of the project. Here are some quick tips for adding your guesses to these Inner Sunset mysteries:

  1. Go to yearofthebay.org and at the top right, log in with your Google, Facebook, or Twitter account. If you don’t have a Historypin account, create one for free!
  2. Back at www.yearofthebay.org, hit the “Mysteries” tab (default tab is “Map”).
  3. On the left side, select Show me: Unsolved mysteries (also the default), and scroll down the list of Inner Sunset mysteries (among others). If you want to see mysteries that other people have already commented on, tick Show Me: Under investigation on the left bar.
  4. Choose a photo from the list you want to help solve, and press Solve.
  5. The interface will prompt you to enter a new date. Once you make your suggestion, you will be able to enter in why you’ve made the choice you have.
  6. That’s it!  Because this is a beta tool (which is to say we’re still working on it to make it better), if anything weird happens, feel free to comment on this blog post, or fill out this easy form to let us know what happened.

If you don’t want to help solve mysteries, we’d still love to see your comments! Explore all of the SFPL’s recent Inner Sunset photos in our project on Historypin, and all of the library’s photos to date on their profile.

 

Introducing East at Main Street

With the East at Main Street project, you can learn more about the historic places and cultural resources that have played a central role to Asian and Pacific Islander American communities throughout the United States, and find out how you and your community can add places to the map as well.

Below, you’ll find some short video tutorials to get you started, and we’ve also made available a helpful Getting Started Guide (pdf).

This project has been made possible by the Asian & Pacific Islander Americans in Historic Preservation Network, the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Donna Graves and Michelle Magalong.

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.

Solving Dogpatch Mysteries in Year of the Bay

Potero Police Station at 20th and 3rd in San Francisco's Dogpatch neighborhood. From the San Francisco Public Library.

For those of you visiting our site for the first time via the Bold Italic, welcome!

Using photos contributed by our collaborators over at the San Francisco Public Library’s San Francisco History Center, we’re hoping you can help solve some date and location mysteries as well as help Street View photos of San Francisco’s ever-changing Dogpatch neighborhood.

As mentioned above, in addition to solving traditional location and date mysteries within our Year of the Bay mysteries interface, we now have the ability to take it a step further and ask our users to help overlay these old photos onto their current Google Street Views.

Using the Year of the Bay Mysteries tool to overlay a photo onto Street View, allowing you to interact with a location's change over time (or lack thereof).

Selecting a new date in the Year of the Bay mysteries interface.

We hope locals and out-of-towners alike can have fun solving some of these and more, while at the same time helping to enrich the San Francisco Public Library’s collections.

It’s easy to get started.  Here’s what to do:

  1. Go to yearofthebay.org and at the top right, log in with Google, Facebook, or Twitter account. If you don’t have a Historypin account, create one for free!
  2. Back at www.yearofthebay.org, scroll down until you see the Mysteries Tab (default).
  3. On the left side, select Show me: Unsolved mysteries (also the default), and scroll down the list of Dogpatch mysteries (among others). If you want to see mysteries that other people have already commented on, tick Show Me: Under investigation on the left bar.
  4. Choose a photo from the list you want to help solve, and press Solve.
  5. Depending on what kind of mystery it is, the interface will prompt you to either enter a new date, find a new location, or overlay a photo onto Street View. Once you make your suggestion, you will be able to enter in why you’ve made the choice you have.
  6. That’s it!  Because this is a beta tool (which is to say we’re still working on it to make it better), if anything weird happens, feel free to comment on this blog post, or fill out this easy form to let us know what happened.
Don’t forget to share your mystery-solving skills with your friends!

U.S. National Park Street Views on Historypin

Sequoia National Park in California, one of the newest additions to Google Street View.

Recently, Google added some new Street Views of U.S. National Parks and monuments, allowing you to explore some of the best parks and historical sites from the comfort of your own home. For a while now, Google has been taking their Street View cameras off the street and into forests, parks, and even the inside of buildings, which adds many more possibilities for sharing your content with us on Historypin. Naturally, we wanted to see what existing pins we could overlay after these recent Street View additions, and we found some great ones! Here is a small selection of some of the wonderful U.S. National Park memories on our Historypin map, newly-added to Street View (click the photos to fade the overlays):

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, 2000. Shared by user 15siirma.

From user 15siirma: “The mountain has the President’s faces of George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. Mount Rushmore is one of the places that my family took a vacation to visit. The best memory I have would be scrounging around in the gift shop, begging my parents to buy something for me. The people in the picture are my three brothers and I, with a bunch of tourists in the background. The place is important to many other people in the United States.”

Old Faithful Geyser, Yellowstone National Park, 1936, shared by Paul's Family Photos.

From user Paul’s Family Photos: “My grandmother, father (left) and Uncle Paul in front of Old Faithful during a trip to Yellowstone Park in 1936.”

Daguerreotype of the Alamo, Texas, 1849, shared by the Briscoe Center of American History.

From the Briscoe Center of American History’s Channel: “Daguerreotype of the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas. This daguerreotype was made in 1849, thirteen years after the famous battle between the attacking Mexican forces commanded by General Antonio López de Santa Anna and defending Texan forces co-commanded by William Travis and James Bowie.”

Marchers at the Lincoln Memorial, August 28, 1963, shared by the US National Archives.

From the US National Archives’ Channel, marches convening at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. in August of 1963, during the March on Washington. One of largest political rallies for human rights in American history, it called for the civil and economic rights of African Americans and included Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. This past August commemorated the March’s 50th Anniversary.

President Bill Clinton making a name rubbing on the Vietnam Memorial, November 1993, shared by user comms.

From user comms: “President Bill Clinton and Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund founder Jan C. Scruggs make a name rubbing on The Wall on Memorial Day.”

You can explore Google’s Street View Gallery here, and see what kinds of great overlays you can create and share on Historypin with your own personal collections. Happy pinning!

Historypin and Year of the Bay at the California Historical Society


A touchscreen with the Year of the Bay project on Historypin, in the gallery of the California Historical Society.

The California Historical Society is embracing 21st-century technology to celebrate the Year of the Bay in 2013, by offering its extensive collections to a crowdsourcing experiment in its gallery at 678 Mission Street in downtown San Francisco and on Year of the Bay on Historypin.

Every Wednesday from noon to 2pm, we’ll be at the California Historical Society to help visitors pin their contributions — photographs and memories — here on the Year of the Bay site. Dig into your family photographs and if you’d like help starting a collection here at Year of the Bay, bring them in to our pinning station at the California Historical Society and we’ll get you set up.

We'll help you pin to Year of the Bay at the California Historical Society's pinning station

Or you can start your own collection here right now!

If you do drop by the California Historical Society, be sure to leave some time to check out “Curating the Bay: Crowdsourcing a New Environmental History,” an exhibition curated by Year of the Bay’s principal investigator, Jon Christensen, in the historical society’s galleries.

Curating the Bay in the California Historical Society's main gallery.

In a year that is bringing the high-profile America’s Cup yacht races to the Bay, the opening of a new Bay Bridge span, and the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Port of San Francisco, Jon has curated an experimental exhibition of hundreds of items from its collections not publicly exhibited before. Many of these artifacts — photographs, paintings, and documents — present historical mysteries still to be solved. The historical society is welcoming the public into this rich collection of materials to contribute their own stories, knowledge, photographs, and other sources to create a richer, more diverse history of the San Francisco Bay.

The exhibition takes risks by asking visitors to fill in the blanks rather than presenting them with a finished narrative. It opens up the process of curating — usually reserved for trained professionals — to the public both in the exhibition and online as part of Year of the Bay’s dynamic crowdsourcing experiment with researchers at Stanford University and Historypin.

Curating the Bay at the California Historical Society

We  hope you can join us Sunday, April 7, from 4 to 6pm to celebrate the opening of an exhibition at the California Historical Society that features centrally our Year of the Bay project. Visit the California Historical Society’s web site to RSVP: http://californiahistoricalsociety.org/exhibitions/curating_the_bay.html

We’ll be there offering live demos and lessons on how to use the Historypin site to add your memories and photos about the Bay, to create collections and slideshows, and tell stories or guide tours through the historical sources we’re gathering together online to tell new stories about the environmental history of the Bay.

And stay tuned. Throughout the exhibition, which runs through August 25, we’ll be offering other walk-in workshops, as well as working with different groups interested in gathering together new historical sources online to tell their stories around the Bay. If you’re interested in attending one of these sessions — or having us organize one for your group — email Jon Christensen at jonchristensen@stanford.edu.

Let’s make history!