Historypin News Round-up, Social Media Edition

A pilot group at Florida State University on June 18th exploring Historypin as at tool to map out historic FSU photos. Photo by Micah Vandegrift via Twitter.

A pilot group at Florida State University on June 18th exploring Historypin as at tool to map out historic FSU photos. The university’s library (and Digital Scholarship group) is embarking on a pilot project, using our site, to help more-widely circulate its digital collections. Photo by Micah Vandegrift via Twitter (click for original).

Here is a late-June roundup of some of the great ways people have been using Historypin recently and sharing it with us over social media:

New York City preservationists have just won additional funding to help map places in the city important to the LGBTQ community on Historypin.

The New York LGBTQ Historic Sites Project, led by Jay Shockley, has received funding from the New York Community Trust and the Arcus Foundation to map out sites with potential national landmark status. Allison Miller (@Cliopticon), shared in her American Historical Association blog post how the project work over Historypin will take this a step further “by collaborating with academic historians and archivists (who will provide layers of “context” for each site) and, in a subsequent phase, LGBTQ community members themselves (who will crowdsource layers of the map with documents from their personal archives, such as photographs and letters).”

Some early precedents: A Google map that stems from a NYC LGBTQ walking tour made in 1994 by the Organization of Lesbian + Gay Architects and Designers (OLGAD), of which Jay Shockley helped to coordinate. Shockley is now a staff member at the New York City Landmark Preservation Commission.

Some early precedents: A Google map that stems from a NYC LGBTQ walking tour made in 1994 by the Organization of Lesbian + Gay Architects and Designers (OLGAD), of which Jay Shockley helped to coordinate. Shockley is now a staff member at the New York City Landmark Preservation Commission.

Miller also points out that this project follows on the heels of a similar initiative happening in California for LGBTQ sites, Historypin project California Pride.

Read Miller’s post and learn more about the NYC project here.

Public History graduate students at American University in Washington D.C. are sharing how they are using Historypin in the context of their studies.

Alexandra Erichson shared in her blog post “Inconvenient Camels” the experience of using Historypin for a class assignment. In particular, she talks about the experience of utilizing our Street View feature, while pinning images from both the British Museum and Metropolitan Museum of Art of early 20th century Egypt. Read Alexandra’s post here.

Problems that only those who do Street View overlays understand: Sometimes, things block your perfect overlay, and in Alexandra's case, a camel!

Problems that only those who do Street View overlays understand: Sometimes, things block your perfect overlay, and in Alexandra’s case, a camel!

Sydney Johnson, another student of Public History at AU, also writes about her experiences of using Historypin for the first time, and explores how adding “space” into the the process of content curation and sharing brings “a deeper connection with the material being presented.” She created the Tour “Freedom Summer,” as an opportunity to help memorialize sites important to minority experiences.

Read Sydney’s blog post here.
Sydney's "Freedom Summer" Tour on Historypin.

Sydney’s “Freedom Summer” Tour on Historypin.

A local San Francisco Bay Area archive and a museum took a #PINOFTHEDAY as opportunity to reflect on an important WWII event.

Our recent #PINOFTHDAY came from the collection of UC Berkeley’s Bancroft Library, who are sharing new content on our site ahead of the Rare Books & Manuscripts Conference in Oakland and Berkeley at the end of this month. The WWII-era image, a photo by famed photographer Dorothea Lange, depicts those of Japanese descent on the sidewalk about to travel to internment camps across California. The photo, taken of what is now the site of the Oakland Museum of California, prompted the museum to share a reflective post with their followers, copied below.

Our June 15th #PINOFTHEDAY from the Bancroft Library. Click the image to read see the Oakland Museum's post/discussion on Facebook.

Our June 15th #PINOFTHEDAY from the Bancroft Library. Click the image to read see the Oakland Museum’s post/discussion on Facebook.

Layering the past and the present in a whole new way…

Historypin is a web platform where historians, community members, and everyday people from around the world can share the history of places that matter to them. As the “Museum of the People”, the location of the Oakland Museum of California holds a special place in the hearts of many communities… but it wasn’t always that way. Yesterday’s Pin of the Day on HistoryPin came from The Bancroft Library showed a photo taken in 1942 by Dorothea Lange at 1118 Oak Street, where Japanese Americans were gathered for their forcible removal during World War II. The site of this painful event would later become the location for the Museum.

This photo has us thinking about all the ways in history has touched the places where we now live, work, and play. What’s a meaningful place to you that has been touched by history in a significant way? ‪#‎MuseumofUs‬‪#‎OMCA‬ ‪#‎Internment‬ ‪#‎history‬ ‪#‎map‬ ‪#‎pinoftheday‬


We’re having fun hearing from many more folks around the world using Historypin to share the history of places. If you have a project that you’re working on that you’d like us to feature in one of these posts, email me at kerri.young@historypin.org

Love your local? Help create a crowdsourced history of London pubs

Pubs have historically played an important role in Britain’s local communities by providing meeting places, supporting formal and informal social networks and being a focal point for local events.

These unique pubs and their place as a vibrant centre of community life need to be documented and celebrated.







We’re working with locals, landlords, staff and historians to create a shared history of great boozers in and around London. This includes gathering stories and photographs through collecting events in pubs as well as online crowdsourcing on the Pubs of London project page.

We’re looking at these 12 pubs below in particular. Do you have any stories, memories or photographs relating to any of these pubs? 

  1. Magpie and Stump, Old Bailey
  2. Old Eagle, Royal College Street, Camden
  3. Queen’s Head, Acton Street, King’s Cross
  4. The Hope, West Street, Carshalton, Surrey
  5. Duke’s Head, High Street, Highgate
  6. The Alma, Newington Green Road, Stoke Newington
  7. Red Lion and Sun, North Road, Highgate
  8. Antwerp Arms, Church Road, Tottenham
  9. Railway Tavern, Angel Lane, Stratford
  10. Victoria, Grove Road, Mile End
  11. Bell Inn, High Road, Horndon on the Hill
  12. The Newman Arms, Rathbone Street, Fitzrovia

Explore and upload material online

If you click the pub names, you will be taken to each pub’s project page within Pubs of London on Historypin.org, where you can see archival photos, explore other pub materials and add content to Historypin yourself by creating an account.

Pubs of London book

The material gathered at the collection events and online will flow into a book that celebrates the lasting legacy of these pubs. Beautiful archival photographs from the Charrington Brewery’s Surveyors Department are contrasted with specially commissioned photographs of the pubs as they are now. This will provide a backdrop for the rich social history contributed by the people who have connected with each pub through the decades.

The Pubs of London project is a partnership between Historypin and the National Brewery Heritage Trust. It is supported by the European Commission as part of Europeana Food and Drink.

For more information, please contact Lise on lise.denbrok@historypin.org

Making the Tough Decision to Pull our Mobile Apps

Historypin supports people who are passionate about using cultural heritage to bring communities together. From Australia to Zimbabwe, we’re proud to help people connect with heritage and engage with each other in new ways. As a non-profit, our central aim is to build the simplest, most effective digital tools which support community engagement and to use our resources where they have maximum impact, maintaining a small set of effective, specific tools rather than a large range that do too many things.

Since we launched, we’ve maintained both the historypin.org website and the Historypin mobile app for iOS and Android, enabling people to discover and share material when they’re at their desks or when they are out in the world. Like all software, our mobile app requires constant maintenance to keep it working well with the most current versions of phones and tablets. Sadly, our mobile app has fallen behind the times, and a few things aren’t working as well as we’d like, so we have a choice to make. We could put more resources into maintaining the app as it exists now, or we could focus on some new areas of the historypin.org web platform, including new features that will work much better on mobile devices, and then build on that platform work with some excellent new mobile app tools later on.

We have made the decision to remove the Historypin mobile app from the Apple and Google Play stores. If you already have the app, it will continue to work, but we will no longer be making updates. This decision allows us to better serve our community of heritage activists by building a range of specific digital products, rather than just a single app that mirrors the desktop experience.

The community engagement projects we run have given us excellent feedback from people using historypin.org and the app, and it is clear that more lightweight, targeted mobile applications are needed. We’re planning to develop specific applications that make it easier to do just one thing–things which help open, enrich and inspire people to collaborate around cultural heritage. Things like recording an oral history, digitising a photo in a community centre, following a heritage trail to discover a local story or taking a “repeat” modern photo of a historical scene.

In the past four years the mobile technology landscape has also transformed. More people are using a greater variety of devices and the technologies to deliver content directly through mobile browsers. We are therefore focusing our efforts on designing “mobile first” experiences and harnessing HTML5 so that historypin.org will work seamlessly on all tablet and mobile browsers. Some of our new projects, for example “Mapping the Panama-Pacific International Exposition” already reflect this thinking, and work quite well on mobile platforms.

We’d also love to hear from you. Let us know what kinds of things are important to you in apps or the mobile experience. Are there elements of apps that your institution would be willing to pay for, or are spending budget on with vendors already? Are there ways you’re using apps or mobile to engage with your community, or would want to? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Thank you very much to everyone who has used our app so far; your support and feedback has been hugely valuable, and we look forward to launching more Historypin products to support community archiving. If you’re interested in working with us on them – coding, funding, beta testing or beyond, please get in touch with Jon, Historypin Strategic Partnerships Director, at jon.voss@historypin.org.

Local pub history events in April

Have you been coming to your pub forever? Does the landlord know your name? Or are you new to the area and would you like to know more about it?

We’re working with local people to create a shared history of great boozers in and around London 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.

We’ll be at the pubs below in the next few weeks, so join us and bring your friends, photos and best stories!

  • The Hope, Thursday 2 April, 3pm to 5pm
  • The Alma, Tuesday 14 April, 7pm to 9pm

Explore and upload material online

If you can’t make it, you can also see each of these pubs on our Historypin website. Click here to visit and contribute to the digital archive.

For more information, contact Lise den Brok on lise.denbrok@historypin.org

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.

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:


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.