Interview with Kerri Young, Historypin Intern

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Name: Kerri

Role: Historypin Intern

Why did you want to intern at Historypin?

I wanted to intern here because Historypin has such a fresh take on engaging the public with history.  I am currently doing an MA in Public History, which is all about the ways in which people engage with history through museums, heritage, television, etc. I love how Historypin is one of the pioneers in this field, making the best use out of something that much of the world now uses: social media. The fit with my area of study is fantastic and provides a great learning opportunity.

How did you come to hear of the project?

I came across Historypin on Twitter. An enthusiastic user described something she had pinned, and I was intrigued about an online-archive that was so hands-on and easily accessible. Anything that helps to promote history in a fun way, I am all for it.

Describe an average day for you as a Historypin Intern.

An average day consists of moderating content that goes up on the site, updating Historypin’s social media accounts, doing some pinning, and finding interesting material for blog posts. Basically, lots of exploring of all the great content that’s out there!

What do you do when you’re not at Historypin?

Since I’m not from around these parts (San Francisco native), I like to explore London and its surroundings as much as I can. I like to visit new museums, go to concerts, and bike-ride in park-when it’s sunny of course! Pub-culture in this country is fantastic as well.

What’s been your best moment here?

I don’t think I can pick one moment, but finding the exact location for vaguely-located photos on Street View is pretty rewarding. In general, it’s great to be able to pick out interesting content and share it with everyone via our blog and Twitter. Sharing is caring!

What excites you the most about Historypin?

What excites me the most is that everyone who explores our map has the chance to be inspired by someone else’s history. The individual moments and stories that are pinned contribute to a larger history of a time, place, or event. Also, that fact that you can travel down a street in Street View where both archival institutions and individual users contribute historical memories is an exciting collaboration between the professional and public spheres.

Unlike your straight-forward online historical archive, Historypin is interactive and visually-fun to explore, and is a great tool for bringing in those who may not engage with history that often.

Can you show us a photo you have personally pinned on Historypin?

Princess Diana Dancing With John Travolta, Nov. 5, 1985.

What’s your favourite photo that has been pinned to the Historypin map and why?

Muni Streetcar 101 and Bus 1 | W5065, 1920, San Francisco MTA Archives

There are so many great photos on the site, but this is one of my favorites because it blends personal and local history with an amazing Street View. This photo shows two old  lines from Muni, which is still San Francisco’s local transportation system. As a native San Franciscan, images like these are fascinating, especially since I and so many other people still use Muni each day. I can’t get enough of local transport images like these, and even wrote a blog post about a similar SFMTA photo. Something mundane like taking the bus every day somehow seems a little less so when having a glimpse at the line’s changing history.

What kind of content would you like to see more of on Historypin?

I would like to see more family and local history on the site, something we are taking great strides towards. Family and community are associated with some of our greatest memories, and I think at its heart Historypin links different ones together from all over the world and places them within a larger historical context. Individual ‘histories’ are definitely changing how we perceive History with a capital H!

Why do you think people should add their photos and stories to Historypin?

This is the chance for people to encourage the spirit of sharing and learning about history with both their local community and the rest of the world. The more people pin, the more the site can grow and encourage the collaboration between individual users and historical institutions. Contributing to our site will also help people find the things they are interested in more easily. Historypin only works when people participate-and that means you!

What do you think the future of Historypin is?

I see Historypin expanding even further through social media, allowing it to utilize more resources and collaborate with more people from all over the world. I also see Historypin becoming a very useful learning tool in the classroom, especially in relation to local community engagement. If students everywhere collaborated on projects akin to Pinning Reading’s History, they can literally put their community ‘on the map’ and expand the often neglected field of local history.