“I’m besotted with it. They’re calling it a “digital time machine” and, this being the age of Wikiality, anyone can contribute. What’s history? Whatever you pin.”

The Guardian

The problem

Local communities are increasingly divided and cultural participation can reflect this. Local and national organisations find it hard to bring together different groups in an engaging way.

Historypin is very much focused on community engagement using imagery to get people connecting through stories and locations. It made sense to The Brooklyn Museum to release our collection of images in a way that would enable and foster this dialogue.

Shelley Bernstein, Brooklyn Museum

The Solution

A digital archive that supports the sharing of local stories and photos.

I can’t believe I’ve met someone who’s met Elvis Presley and also carried Winston Churchill’s coffin. It’s made me want to ask my family to dig out all their old photos.

Tommy Underwood, age 13

So far…

  • 4000+ cultural organisations using it
  • 100,000+ storytellers, archivists and citizen historians contributing
  • 350,000+ stories pinned to around 32,000+ projects in over 2,500+ cities.


Launch video from 2011:


Massive Digital Community Archives in Colombia: An International Partnership Towards Peace

November 18, 2019

This chapter in The Routledge International Handbook of New Digital Practices in Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums and Heritage Sites explores a partnership between the National Library of Colombia, with its national network of public libraries, and Historypin.org, a global non-profit that seeks to strengthen communities through local history and story-sharing. This project highlights: the potential role of cultural heritage organisations to make lasting social impact through civic engagement, methods for designing digital content creation and community engagement along with technical infrastructure, the democratising potential of placing the power of cultural narrative in the hands of many, and how a digital cultural project allowed us to reach an entire nation during an essential time of peace-building.

See other chapters in this book here.

Diego Merizalde and Jon Voss

Taking a User-Centered Design Approach with the US National Archives

July 14, 2016

Historypin began working with the US National Archives in 2014 to take a user-centered design approach to cultural heritage and develop a broad strategy of community engagement. With a focus on NARA’s Wartime Films, we’ve worked with leading curators and preservationists at NARA to begin reaching much broader audiences and increase awareness and creative reuse of the United States’ rich cultural heritage.

Jon Voss and Kerri Young

IMLS Focus: The National Digital Platform

July 23, 2015

On April 28, 2015, the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) convened library, archive, and museum professionals to, in the words of Maura Marx, IMLS Director, “advance a vision of easy, seamless and reliable access for all Americans to the digital content and services that will enrich and improve their lives.”  Jon Voss represented Historypin on a panel about Linked Open Data and crowdsourcing.

Jon Voss

From Crowdsourcing to Knowledge Communities: Creating Meaningful Scholarship Through Digital Collaboration

April 2, 2015

In this paper, we share some of the findings of our Mellon-funded crowdsourcing research with Stanford University, with a focus on tools we found helpful in the process of identification, outreach, and collaboration with knowledge communities.

Jon Voss and Kerri Young

Historypin in the Community: 2013/2014

Historypin in the Community: 2013/2014

March 3, 2015

In the last couple of years, we’ve seen Historypin used to connect generations in Japan, to draw in rich life stories in Australia and even to inspire a mural in East London. These sorts of projects are at the core of our mission to build better local social connections through a shared sense of place and history.

Each case study gives you a brief glimpse of the people behind these projects and what they’ve achieved.

Breandán Knowlton

Leading in the Digital World: Opportunities for Canada’s Memory Institutions

February 4, 2015

Jon: “I was fortunate to be a reviewer on this important publication examining the future of Canada’s memory institutions, though the findings are applicable worldwide.  The authors of the paper take a bold stance on what is necessary for leadership in the digital domain.”

by: Council of Canadian Academies

Jon Voss

Citizen Science and Mobile Phone Cameras as Tools for Monitoring World Heritage

November 1, 2013

Early research on a proposed project to combine citizen science techniques and photo gathering to examine and monitor the aging and deterioration of objects of cultural heritage. Published in Built Heritage 2013 Monitoring Conservation Management.

Jon Voss

LODLAM State of Affairs

April 2, 2012

Article on the community evolving around Linked Open Data in libraries, archives and museums.

Jon Voss

Radically Open Cultural Heritage Data on the Web

April 1, 2012

This paper examines how a cultural, technological, and legal environment is enabling a growing ecosystem of open historical data. Published on Museums and the Web.

Jon Voss

Pinning Reading’s History: Evaluation Report

March 24, 2012

Analysis of the social impact of Pinning Reading’s History, a project in Reading, UK, with data and analysis from the London Government Information Unit (LGiU).

Natasha Armstrong

Impact Infographic

March 23, 2012

Depiction of the social impact of Pinning Reading’s History, a project in Reading, UK, with data and analysis from the London Government Information Unit (LGiU).

Tori Flower & Kate Ferrier


The State of Intergenerational Relations

October 2, 2011

Infographic illustrating the growing inter-generational divide, the growing ageing population, and prevalence of loneliness amongst the elderly.

Tori Flower and Charlotte Heal


Cultural Heritage and Social Change Summit: One Year On

This report summarizes some of the core findings of the Cultural Heritage and Social Change Summit–themes that have also arisen in many other cultural heritage conferences and meetings over the past year:

  • Safe Space for Disruptive Dialogue
  • Funding for Transformative Gatherings
  • Equitable and Ethical Collaboration
  • Diversifying Technology Production in Cultural Heritage Spaces
  • Integrating Community Archives Into Traditional Cultural Heritage Spaces
  • Social Innovation and Rethinking Goals and Objectives in the Cultural Heritage Sector

Jon Voss

Connecting Well

David Robinson is Shift’s founder and a community worker in east London. He is currently exploring new work on social isolation at the Marshall Institute. This is the first in a series of blogs.

Historypin & LODLAM at EuropeanaTech 2015

This talk at the National Library of France from February 2015 highlights some of the ways Historypin is being leveraged to increase access to cultural heritage content and strengthen local communities. I also take a quick look at the growing culture around Linked Open Data in Libraries, Archives and Museums and how data sharing may soon be the new norm for cultural heritage.

Smithsonian Institution talk on Linked Open Data

Jon Voss addresses the Smithsonian Institute and explores the fundamental elements of Linked Open Data and discover how rapidly growing access to metadata within the world’s libraries, archives and museums is opening exciting new possibilities for understanding our past, and may help in predicting our future.


Selected supporters include

google  artandhumanitiescouncil BritishCouncil fugitsu  hlf  stanford   



Best Non­profit/charity website, 2012


Sunday Times App List 2012


The Social Tech Guide: The World’s Most Inspiring Social Innovations Using Digital Technology


Award for Best Education & Reference Website, 2012


Winner of the inaugural History Today Digital History Award, 2014


Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, 2014