Historypin is a digital, user-generated archive of historical photos, videos, audio recordings and personal recollections. Users are able to use the location and date of their content to "pin" it to Google Maps. Where Google Street View is available, users can overlay historical photographs and compare it with the contemporary location.
This content can be added and explored online and via a series of Smartphone applications
The project was created by the non-profit company Shift (formerly We Are What We Do), as part of their inter-generational work, with funding and support from Google as part of a series of commitments to digital inclusion. The website has over 200,000 assets and recollections "pinned" to the Historypin map around the world, with higher contributions in the UK, USA and Australia. The beta version of the website was launched in June 2010 at the Royal Institute in London by Nick Stanhope, CEO of Shift and the full project was launched at the Museum of the City of New York in July 2011.
The website features a range of themed collections, some of which commemorate historical events. Previous collections include:
- August 2010: The High Street Collection
- September 2010: The Blitz Collection to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the start of The Blitz.
- October 2010: The First World War Collection
- November 2010: The Second World War Collection to commemorate Remembrance Day.
- December 2010: The Christmas Collection
- January 2011: The Facial Hair Through Time Collection
As well as user-generated content, material has been added to the site from museums, local history societies, historical photo archives, newspaper archives and businesses. Contributors include Biggleswade History Society, Bishopsgate Institute, The John Lewis Partnership, Mirrorpix, The New York Transit Museum, PhillyHistory.org, The Ritz Hotel, Baltimore Museum of Industry and the Science and Society Picture Library and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.
- Leith, Sam "With Historypin, photography has entered the fourth dimension", The Guardian, 4 July 2010
- Crow, Charlotte "Historypin: Patchwork History", History Today, 7 June 2010
- Skipworth, Hunter "Historypin turns Google Street View into a window on the past", The Telegraph, 26 June 2010
- Gillo, Claire "Science & Society Picture Library opens archives to Historypin", www.dphotographer.co.uk, 11 November 2010
- "Digital time machine gives new picture of history", Luton Today, 2 July 2010