The Abolitionist Map of America How-to Guide

If you are pinning for a museum, library, archive, or other historical organization, your set-up process will be slightly different, so please email for information on how to become a partner.

If you are not affiliated with an organization and want to contribute to the map, feel free to use this guide to help you navigate the map!

Log In
Visit the Abolitionist Map of America website
Click "Add Content" then "Register Now."
You will be asked to create a PBS account.
After you create your account, return to the map
Click "Add Content," and log-in using your email address and password (if your computer already has you logged in, simply click "Continue").

Start Pinning!
Simply follow the instructions on the website for pinning your material to the map. You can choose to upload Photos, Video, Audio, or photos of Documents.
After you upload each item, you will be asked to add the following:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Date
  • Tags
  • Copyright information
  • Location information

You can pin your item to a location on the map by searching for the approximate address in the search box, or by manually navigating the map with your cursor.
If you are uploading an image of a location, you can also opt to pin your photo to Street View. This will allow the user to compare your photo with how the site looks today, highlighting how that location has changed over time.

Best Practices

To post an ideal photo pin, try to follow some or all of the following guidelines:

  1. Post an image witn exterior view of a building/home (or any site with a street view)
  2. Post an image taken during the relevant time period (1840-1865)
  3. Write a description that explains the actual photo, illustrates its relevance to the abolitionist movement, and mentions what the site is today (a museum? a private residence? a field?)

**SAMPLE PIN: This is an ideal pin because the location is highly significant to the abolitionist movement, it is pinnable in street view, the date is within range, and the description mentions people significant to the movement, how they are related to this image, and what the site is today.

Title: The Grimke House
Date: 1891
Description: This was Angelina and Sarah Grimke's Charleston home before they moved north to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to become leaders in the abolitionist movement. While living here, their time was split between this home and their father's Beaufort, South Carolina estate. The house now operates as a law firm.

Of course, we understand that these kinds of images are not exactly easy to come by! Other great content types include:

  1. An image pinned at a location critical to the movement with a well-representative photo. This might mean a portrait of an abolitionist, a group or action photo, a document, or even an artifact! Or, it could mean anything outside of that date range. (Our system allows pins to be dated from the earliest days of slavery in America (1619) through today.)
  2. A great photo with an exact location that may be difficult to define. In this case, pin the image at an approximate location and include whatever detail you have in your photo description.
  3. A great photo/location that is outside the narrow scope of the abolitionist movement, but still relevant to the overall story. This might mean an image pertaining to the Civil War, the underground railroad, Reconstruction, or the more contemporary civil rights movement.

Consider other types of posts including:

  • Illustrations of sites critical to the movement

  • Broadsides pinned to the location of a particular announcement
  • Anti-slavery ephemera pinned to a relevant location
  • Correspondence or other manuscripts that are not difficult to read (with the most significant parts transcribed or described. You may link to a full transcript outside the site, if you like.)
  • Portraits or photographs of abolitionists when no photos of the sites relevant to that person are available

  • Any other unique content relevant to the abolitionist movement

Ideal Video:
Ideal video content would have the following characteristics:

  • The content of the entire clip is relevant and significant to the abolitionist movement. This is the most important aspect
  • A short duration (We like to stick to videos under 3 minutes!)
  • A single, compelling, dramatic, and attention-grabbing piece
  • The description should set the context, describe the characters involved and the location of the event portrayed, and explain the overall relevancy to the abolitionist movement.


Title: Douglass and Garrison Meet
Length: 2:37
Description: In August of 1841, Frederick Douglass traveled to Nantucket to hear the publisher of Boston's "The Liberator" abolitionist newspaper, William Lloyd Garrison, speak. After hearing Douglass tell his story, Garrison realized he had found the man he had been looking for. Garrison approached Douglass with a proposition.
Pinned Location: The video was pinned at the site portrayed in this scene, a meetinghouse in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

Ideal Metadata:
The ideal TITLE will be short and well representative of the photo or video you are pinning.





  • Is short (25 - 100 words)
  • Uses relevant keywords
  • Speaks to the relevance to the abolitionist movement as a whole
  • Mentions specific names relevant to the pinned item

The ideal LOCATION is the exact spot where the photograph was taken. If you are pinning the item in street view, the photo should be pinned as close as possible to the angle, distance and location that the photograph was taken.

If the pin is not a photograph of a building, the location should be as accurate and relevant as possible to the item that you are pinning.

The ideal DATE is the date that the photograph was taken or when the document was created. If you are unsure of the date, the system allows you to provide an approximate window.

Ideal TAGS are thorough, concise possible search terms for the item that you are pinning. We recommend using 2-4 tag words on each pin.

NOTES, AUTHOR, and ORIGINAL LINKS: These fields offer you the option to include copyright information and the site where you originally found the image (such as the Library of Congress). We strongly recommend you fill this in.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at Happy Pinning to the Abolitionist Map of America!

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