Welcome to Wiki Loves Monuments USA!
Wiki Loves Monuments is an international photo contest for monuments, organized by the Wikimedia movement this September. Wikimedia is the movement behind Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – a global collaboration authored by volunteers. Wiki Loves Monuments USA is the national contest of Wiki Loves Monuments in the United States.
What should I take pictures of?
The National Register of Historic Places WikiProject on Wikipedia has organized the more than 87,000 monuments and sites on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). These lists are categorized by state and by county, with identifying information about the monument or site, including its specific location.
Finding monuments nearby is simple:
To simplify the process of locating a monument to photograph and uploading your images, we are introducing a new interactive map. You can enter your location on a map and we will show you a map of registered historic places nearby.
These are the sites that are eligible for the contest and the ones we hope you’ll photograph. Red pins mean that there is no image for the monument; we encourage you to visit and photograph these sites. Green pins mean that there is already an picture of the monument on Wikipedia. You can zoom and pan the map to find sites to photograph.
If you have an Android smartphone, you can download the free Wiki Loves Monuments app to locate monuments close to your location. You can even use the app to photograph and upload pictures to Wikipedia, which will be appropriately organized for the contest.
You can find NRHP sites in your area by visiting this page on Wikipedia. Likewise, you can use the search box on Wikipedia and enter “List of RHPs in XX”, where “XX” is the postal code of your state. “RHPs” is short for “Registered Historic Places”. There will be a list of counties in the state on the page. Click on a county name and you’ll be taken to a list of the NRHP sites in that county. These are the sites that are eligible for the contest and the ones we hope you’ll photograph.
You may also notice that there are some sites that do not have photos yet. These are the sites that we’d really love for you to photograph. Most of them will have an address and geographical coordinates. Click on the coordinates to see a map of the site’s location. That’s where you need to go to take the photograph.
Some sites already have photographs included in their table entry. Think you can take a better photo? Please do, and upload it to Wikimedia Commons! You can even take multiple photos of the same site – interior and exterior shots, specific architectural details, different times of day, different angles. While there is no need for multiple shots of the same feature, from the same angle, at the same time of day, it’s good practice to take several shots and upload the best.
The slide presentation “Working with WikiProject:National Register of Historic Places” will give you an overview of the process. A YouTube video of a 20 minute talk at WikiMania may also be of interest.
What should I NOT take pictures of?
- Please don’t make people the focus of your photos. Intead, please concentrate on the historic sites.
- Many NRHP sites are privately owned. Please respect the owners’ privacy and don’t trespass.
- Some sites are listed as “Address Restricted” to protect, for example, archeological sites from looters. While some of these sites have been protected in other ways and opened to the public, please don’t photograph any “Address Restricted” sites for this contest.
- Never take a photo of the interior of a building without the owner’s permission, even through an open window.
- Taking photos of street signs and the like can be very helpful for you to identify the location of the previous photo, but there is usually no need to upload these shots.
Do you have any tips for getting a useful shot?
- Take more than one photo for each historic site. Later, you can choose the best ones to upload. There is no limit to how many photographs you can upload.
- Light is the most important element in photography. Try working with the sun at your back, or in the early morning just after dawn, or in the late afternoon just before dusk. There are no firm rules here however: whatever works for you is great.
- If you have an older camera, set the camera to the highest resolution. Most cameras now take photos with over 3 megapixels, which is generally all that is needed for most photos on Wikipedia, but higher resolutions may be useful in some cases and are certainly allowed.
- If you plan to take photos at several sites, use the special Google Map feature and print a map of the sites as well as the text from the NRHP county lists.
- Using an Android smartphone with the Wiki Loves Monuments app can make finding and uploading your images much easier.
- If you take a detailed photograph, such as photo of a tower or a doorway, it’s helpful to also take a photograph of the whole monument or site for context.
- You are free to take any photos you’d like from public roadways, but please respect people’s privacy. Don’t shoot photos through open windows, and for this contest please focus on buildings rather than on people.
- Your photos can be as simple or as fancy as you’d like. Most photographers will try to get a basic overview of the site, in much the same way a newspaper photographer would try to make the building recognizable to people who walk by. But if you want to make the photo more imaginative or artistic, so as to challenge the viewer to see the site in a new way, that’s fine with us.
How do I upload all these fantastic photos I took?
In order to participate in the contest, you need an account on Wikimedia Commons. If you’ve never had an account on Wikimedia or Wikipedia, it’s easy to register and completely free. Fill in a working email address while registering, or we can’t contact you if you win!
Are you unable to upload using Wikimedia Commons? Try using our “Wiki Loves Monuments” Flickr group – just add your Flickr photos to this group and they will be transferred to Wikipedia.
Can I start uploading my entries yet?
Yes, from Sunday, September 1, 2014. Photos must be uploaded in September 2014. The deadline for the final upload is Monday, October 1, 2014, 12:01 a.m Hawaiian Standard Time, which is equal to 6:01 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
Which pictures can I enter in the contest?
Please enter photographs that depict the more than 87,000 monuments and sites on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in the United States. These lists are categorized by state and by county, with identifying information about the monument or site, including its specific location. You can find registered historic places on a map or upload pictures you’ve already taken. Our tools make it simple to find the qualifying monuments near you.
What if I didn’t take my photos during September?
It doesn’t matter when you took the photo, only that you upload it during the contest.
I am not the world’s best photographer. Do you still want my images?
Yes! Please upload your images. Even if you may not be entering in the expectation of winning one of the prizes, your entry can still give you the satisfaction of knowing that you have helped to document your local environment and cultural heritage, and that you have made your images freely available for future generations. When you upload, you have contributed to a growing community that believes in making knowledge freely available to all.
I’m in the US but I have some photographs that I have taken abroad. Can I enter them as well?
Yes, if they were taken in one of the participating countries. However, you will need to enter that country’s national contest. This section is just for images taken in the US. To upload images to other national contests, please visit the international upload page.
Can I enter even if I do not live in the US?
Yes, of course! Please feel free to submit any photos you may have taken in the past. For example, please upload the photos you took of a registered historic place during a previous trip to the US.
I’ve got some photos that would be great for Wikipedia, but they aren’t eligible for this competition. Do you still want them?
Yes, please upload them. This particular contest is targeted at listed buildings, but there are many other US subjects such as nature reserves which we would welcome photographs of. You can upload them via this link.
After uploading, what should I do?
For purposes of the contest, you are done after uploading.
Go out and take some more photographs!
How do I know if I won?
It is important for you to activate your email on your account so we can contact you if you win. We will contact you with the email address you provide.