Hello all! In this post, I wanted to unpack and explain what Historypin is. This website and mapping service is an absolutely wonderful idea for the public and local communities to engage in the preservation of their local history through blog posts, pictures, videos, and stories. It can also act as an online digital collection for museums and organizations. The duality for both museum professionals and everyday individuals in a community to have the ability to preserve and present history through objects and stories is something very unique!
Since Historypin is on the web, it has a global reach. That is an amazing feature that allows people from around the world to connect and swap local experiences and histories. It is a not-for-profit organization based out of New Orleans. However, they have expanded their team to the global stage. They now have teams operating in London and Sofia. And according to their website, Historypin has over 80,000 members with over 365,000 pinned stories. That figure is just mind blowing! It really demonstrates just how far-reaching and popular and important sharing local history is to us as a society.
To Interface with Historypin, one does not need to become a member. It is open to the public to view and peruse. However, to make a story and a pin, a login is required. It is 100% free to use as well! The fact that Historypin is free to use just makes the public aspect of this public history concept to another level. The freedom of people to add their history and engage with individuals who have similar experiences or to teach others who may not have those experiences is remarkable. History should be open and free-flowing and Historypin are doing their part to ensure that happens.
Once an account is created, the user can post their own story, picture, videos, etc to the site. They can select how private they wish their posts to be. Once the user uploads their desired materials, they tag that post with a location on a map. The locations can be super precise or very general. That is up to the user. The integrated Google Maps element is another aspect that sets Historypin apart. The map gives the viewer of the post geographical context. This helps further build knowledge and connection between the user and the viewer. The users can range from institutions to individuals.
One of the more interesting projects I stumbled across on Historypin is a project mapping emotions in Victorian London. It is a “crowdsourcing project designed to expand possibilities for research in the humanities. The project has invited anonymous participants to annotate whether passages drawn from novels, published mainly in the Victorian era, represented London places in a fearful, happy, or unemotional manner. This data from the crowd allowed us to generate the maps you find here, revealing a previously unseen emotional geography of Victorian London. We now invite you to explore them, and the underlying fictional passages, to discover the ways in which London was constructed, navigated, and represented emotionally in its fiction.” This was the “About” section of the pin describing what the project is all about. I think it is a wonderfully designed and well thought out project! It is just another example of the wide variety of possibilities found on Historypin!
Historypin is super easy to navigate and user friendly. The range of subjects and topics covered on the site is just incredible! From the National Archives and the National Museum of American History pins which are viewed widely to vary small, local projects. Historypin has something for everyone!