Practicum: History Pins

History Pins are a fascinating way for the general public to share local history and connect with their communities. History Pin allows users to upload photos and documents and “pin” those images to either the location the picture was taken, or the location in which the document holds significance.

To begin you have to create an account for History Pin, I imagine this is to deter ne’er-do-wells from creating digital graffiti on their website. I simply linked my google account, this took less than an minute and allowed me to get started creating pins! The first thing you have to do is click on your now created profile and select “add a pin” for my example I choose an old picture of a salt well I had left on my phone from a pervious project, but any historic documentation will work. It could be an old photo, a deed from a building, or a family document highlighting something in the area.

After selecting your photo you are then prompted to fill in all the relevant information. This includes a title and a brief description, as well as dropping your pin. You can use the pin to locate and exact location, or a rough estimate, by adjusting the radius of your pin. Since I only know my photo is from the Kanawha Valley I adjusted mine to encompass that geographical location. You can then add tags such as “salt” or “industry” to make it easy for people looking for similar items to find. After that all that is left is to save your pin and get to creating more! 

You can also use History Pins to create a tour, this feature allows you to string multiple pins together in order to allow users to explore them back to back. You can find this functionality in your user profile as well. After naming and describing your tour at the bottom of the page you are then prompted to pick a geographic location to house your tour. This in theory should be the location of your pins. Using the tour mode creatively can allow you to link multiple pins in the same location and give an in-depth look at the history of an area!

Small organizations such as the British Deaf Association are using this tool in order to “make Deaf heritage accessible, so that everyone can enjoy and learn from our rich and beautiful history.” They’ve created a group which highlights distinct landmarks in the deaf community and putting them all in one accessible place. Linking videos, photos, and articles all showing the rich history of the deaf community, to visit that collection you can follow this link!,-0.069711,7/bounds/49.725707,-2.288949,53.220328,2.149527/paging/1

If you have any other questions or concerns you can find numerous helpful videos in the “getting started” tab at the top of the webpage. I would also be remiss to not mention my alma mater Marshall University has a similar application called The Clio  which works similarly to History Pins. Both applications work wonders for allowing the public to connect with local history. So go out there and get to work creating collections and tours of your own local community! 

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