Ideas for Using AASL Best Websites: HistoryPin

This month’s blog post on an AASL Best Website for Teaching and Learning is focused on a favorite that won in 2014, Historypin. The newly redesigned site is a great place to search for historic images from around the world using geo-location on Google Maps Streetview. This site can largely be described as a collective visual ethnography of images from around the world. Anyone can add pictures to Historypin and everyone can search by location to find amazing historic photos located just about anywhere.

Historypin can be used two different ways. The first is as a search engine for images. If you are reading a piece of literature set in England during World War II and would like to see pictures of the places described in the book, this is an excellent site for that very project. The other way this site can be used is for collecting images. If there is a class or school that would like to collect images and add to the library of photos available on Historypin, this citizen science style site is perfect for that type of project as well. Oral history of grandparents during the Civil Rights Era, photos of loved ones during conflicts on domestic/foreign soil, images of past architecture, events, and loved ones are all welcome in Historypin. This site holds a collection of hundreds of thousands of images.

When you load photos into Historypin your images are now part of a collection. Loaded images show up as digital push pins on the Google Map and can be viewed by those who have searched the site. Collections and locations can be searched and anyone can add pictures to your collection. With this site you can add pictures, video, and with new updates you can also add text pins as well. See the video below on Historypin.

One warning, Historypin is a lot of fun. It is what I call a internet time suck. You will start by searching your hometown and then will move to the setting of a book you are reading and then you will move onto other locations. Then you look up and two hours have passed. But there are worse ways to spend your time. This is an exceptional site and one that the AASL Best Websites Committee was pleased to recognize.


Author: Heather Moorefield-Lang

Heather Moorefield-Lang is an associate professor at The University of South Carolina in the School of Library and Information Science. To see more of Heather’s work visit her website at, email her at, or follow her on Twitter @actinginthelib.

Categories: Blog Topics, Technology

1 reply

  1. Thanks, Heather, for the nice words about Historypin!

    We’re really excited to have so many school librarians and teachers using the platform to share and learn. And as you mentioned, we’re particularly interested in the contributions that can be made by classrooms. We’ve seen students sent out into the community to interview older citizens about how things used to be, talking to their parents about their own community backgrounds and doing research in libraries and archives. These sorts of projects not only enhance the classroom learning experience, but contribute new knowledge and experience for others to learn from.

    In our community forum, we’d be particularly interested to hear from teachers at about how Historypin can best be used as part of their teaching.

    We’ve made a short video highlighting a couple of new features that AASL folk might find useful at .

    All the best,

    // Breandán
    // Director, Historypin

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