Photographic Archives finds innovative way to showcase collections


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — University of Louisville Photographic Archives is among the first institutional users of a website that allows people to post historic photographs by location and displays some of them juxtaposed to current scenes from the same location.

    The site, called Historypin, is a free, user-generated archive of historic photographs and personal stories created by the British nonprofit company We Are What We Do. Photographic Archives already has added more than 50 images of 20th century Louisville from its significant visual holdings and plans to add more regularly as a way to promote its collections in an innovative way.

    Included so far are elements of Louisville’s past that may be unknown to younger Louisville residents such as the flood of 1937, Fontaine Ferry Park and White City Amusement Park. Other contributions are early images of Louisville buildings that still exist, as well as those of people, places and things long gone.

    The Historypin site launched in July after a year of testing. Photographic Archives, a partner institution, participated in the website’s beta testing and is one of the first university archives to contribute to the project.

    The site’s purpose is to allow users to experience places around the world at different moments in time. It uses precise geographical coordinates and dates to “pin” pictures to Google Maps. Select images display layered over contemporary views of the same location using Google Maps Street View technology.

    The University of Louisville Photographic Archives was established in 1967 and houses about 2 million photographs and associated records. Its mission is to collect significant documentary photograph collections, to organize the collections and to make them available to the public. Hundreds of discrete collections include national documentary projects, local history photographs and a museum collection of fine prints.

    Photographic Archives’ Historypin page is at

    For more information, contact Elizabeth Reilly, Photographic Archives, University of Louisville Libraries at 502-852-6752 or