Navigating the Past from our Pockets : Instagram and Public History

Anyone that knows me personally knows I’m quite the nerdy hobby photographer. Just read my archives on this blog to find out for yourself. So, when I caved and finally purchased my first smart phone last December, I immediately uploaded Instagram and started snapping away. For those of you scratching your heads and asking, “Insta-what?”, Instagram is a smart phone app (now also available on iPads) that functions like Twitter for the aspiring photographers of the world. You snap photos, add filters, and can share your photos with other Instagrammers who “follow” your feed. In turn, you can follow others, too.

With Web 2.0 now all the rage, a variety of history-related apps are available for our smart technologies. From the Library of Congress Virtual Tour to Historypin to Oregon Trail, history is literally right inside our pockets and purses. Smart phone technology has in many ways democratized access to history and history-related resources like never before. Which leads me back to Instragram. As a public historian, over-eager photog and smart phone user, I find these three worlds colliding on my iPhone 5 all the time.  In their photo-sharing ways, Instagram users are also sharing, shaping and navigating the past. So, how do we explore history with Instragram? How do I?

Below are just some of the ways. I’ve included my original captions with the images. To follow my Instagram happenings, you can follow my account annie_cullen on your smart technology or take a peek at my online profile here. Disclaimer: yes, I take too many pictures of my cats.

Instagramming History
Dream bathroom. #cuneomansion #oldshit #latergram #publichistory @zhenshchina

Instagramming History
Last set of books for the last semester of graduate school.

Instagramming History
Wearing my #thrifted #vintage Nixon ’68 campaign brooch to celebrate the return of Mad Men (which I won’t actually be watching thanks to graduate school.) And no, I’m not a Republican, but Don Draper sure was. #madmen

Instagramming History
#chitown

Instagramming History
Frances Willard’s 100 year old bike. #oldshit #bikes #bikechi #bikebabes

Instagramming History
Downtown #chitown

Instagramming History
#Archives quote of the day: “Not a two-headed boy,” North Shore News, 1902. C/O @publickristory

Instagramming History
Jane Addams Hull-House

Instagramming History
Studying for exams. @raboyl @publickristory

Instagramming History
#historicpullman #chitown #tedsbus

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