Thursday, September 25, 2008

Giving Context to Experiences

maria mortati, gyroscope inc, museumsWe've been working on several historical projects recently. These history museums and societies provide more than facts and figures about the past. At their best, they foster an understanding of the contexts that led up to events, and forge connections between history and individuals. One such example is a project from the United States Holocaust Museum "Children of Lodz Ghetto". USHMM collected stories from diaries and interviews with survivors of the ghetto. These were archived together wi th photos of artifacts, people, film footage, and individual stories. For example, the history of Jutta Szmirgeld provides snippets of her time from age 12 in Lodz to her amazing survival of Auschwitz. Such collections enable us have empathy for the past by providing us with a more complete picture of life at that time. The technology allows us to gather and share these stories fluidly with one another, while allowing the museum to do what it does best: give us an open-ended, yet informed experience of the past. [originally posted elsewhere, revised]

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