There are many collections of portraits about which there is no or little information. This is particularly true of photographs; yet costume, background and other details can bring these portraits to life. Often people from the local area can help with details around photographs of people within local collections and looking for these details could make for great cross-generational activities.


Historypin and the Imperial War Museum teamed up to find out more information about an archive of photographs from World War One using a combination of the archive, digital tools and public participation.


The Q Series is a collection of 120,000 images showing life during the First World War, on land, at sea, in the air and at home, which includes material from a wide range of sources, including official sources, media and war efforts of other nations. Beyond the original captions associated with each image, much of the contextual data and narrative has been lost or was not recorded:

Over the summer of 2012, the Historypin teamed up with the Imperial War Museum to start to harness the capacity and knowledge of the crowd to gather this information. Through a series of events, drawing on the knowledge and enthusiasm of many different people, from school students, to military experts, to archivists and curators, we have uncovered a few of the mysteries of the Q Series.


History Pin Blog, ‘New exhibition exploring the participatory museum concept’ >>


First World War centenary website