Historypin Practicum

Hello everyone! Keeping with the theme of spatial programs, Historypin is an online platform that allows users to explore historical landmarks and sources using a map feature. Each pin identifies a location on a map that has a connection to the real world, whether that be an actual landmark such as a building, or identifying the space where a specific action occurred. There are seven tabs at the top of the site, but there are really only three that are super important.

Explore Historypin

If you click “Explore Historypin” at the top of the site, it will bring you to this page. On the left is a map of San Fransisco and the little red, orange and green circles are collections of pins. The right hand side shows popular collections related to that area. Each collection is a grouping of pins that are related either through themes or a specific area, and more popular collections are ones that have been created by an institution working with Historypin. Different organizations do this for a multitude of reasons, including collecting images, recordings, etc. for a project, trying to increase awareness about an area, or connecting to a broader audience.

Getting Started

The “Getting Started” page contains a collection of videos related to, you guessed it, getting started using the site. Related to the larger goal to raise inclusivity, the caption on each video are automatically in Spanish. The videos are all easy to follow and are pretty short, allowing users to dive right in to creating their own collections.


The third page brings you to a really beautiful arrangement of pictures, each connected to a collection. Historypin explains that “collections are groups of pins about particular places and themes, gathered by Historypin members.” There is a search bar at the top of the page and the results can be sorted by most popular, newest first, or oldest first. After you click on a collection, you are brought to a page that has different boxes with images and captions beneath them. Some will explain what the collection is, and others will have primary sources connected to a map with an explanation beneath. The site also allows you to comment on different posts.

This is a really interesting site that is relatively easy to use. It can be a little overwhelming at first, but the layout makes it easy to navigate to resources or even just browse until you stumble across something that interests you. It is an interesting combination of social media mixed with collection management, and anyone from a business to a teacher can benefit from using this platform.

3 Replies to “Historypin Practicum”

  1. Hey Evelyn,
    HistoryPin is such a great website. I’m wondering if you explored pins in other parts of the country? I believe organizations from all of the US use the site. In any case it’s a great public history tool that allows for a lot of collaboration between historians and communities. Can’t wait to hear more about it in class.

  2. Hi Evelyn! This is a great post! I like how you mention that this site can be valuable for multiple people, for example, teachers or business owners within a community. I can also see this site being a great resource for tourists, who are looking for a more authentic way (at least in comparison with other forms of mobile history) to explore local history– which makes mobile history much more impactful when examining the power of place and meaning.

  3. Hi, Evelyn – This is such a great intro to a busy site. One passion project I would eventually like to do is mapping landmarks and pairing it with a field guide to local flora and fauna. After reading your post, I think HistoryPin might be the site to start with. As you were working with HistoryPin, were there problems from the creator standpoint that you thought could be more user friendly? I’d be interested to hear how that went for you.

    Thanks for sharing this resource. I’m super interested in exploring more of this site!

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