New site allows millions chance to explore the past, share the present

Beta launched in the summer of 2010, became fully operational recently. I heard about this on the radio a few days ago, and thought it sounded pretty interesting. For history buffs, it definitely is.

The way it works: Users from around the world can “pin” photos directly to the Historypin map. Currently, there are more than 60,000 photos, videos, audio and stories cataloged on the site. Because Historypin is in partnership with Google, according to its site, “some of these images — if they are taken outdoors, at street level and at certain angles, will be able to be layered onto Street View (this is a bonus, not a requirement).”

This morning — using the site’s search engine —  I just found some great pictures of Bellingham, Wash. from many years ago. Not a ton to choose from, but interesting nonetheless. For home historians, it’s an easy way to see how areas and neighborhoods once looked. As its popularity grows, the experience should only get better.

The organization describes its ambitious mission this way:

“Historypin is a way for millions of people to come together, from across different generations, cultures and places, to share small glimpses of the past and to build up the huge story of human history. Everyone has history to share: whether its sitting in yellowed albums in the attic, collected in piles of crackly tapes, conserved in the 1000s of archives all over the world or passed down in memories and old stories. Each of these pieces of history finds a home on Historypin, where everyone has the chance to see it, add to it, learn from it, debate it and use it to build up a more complete understanding of the world.”

I think the best way to explain the site is through its video. Check it out. I think it’s a fascinating idea — so I look forward to seeing it grow. Could become a great tool for home genealogists.