Published: October 12, 2012 – 12:11PM
The archives focus on legends such as Anne Frank, the young Jewish-Dutch Holocaust victim whose famous diary chronicled her plight; South African freedom icon Nelson Mandela; and lesser-known hero Jan Karski, a Polish anti-Nazi partisan who brought the Allies early eye-witness testimony of the Holocaust.Google has launched its online “Cultural Institute“, a digital visual archive of landmark 20th century events and personalities, created in co-operation with 17 museums and institutes from across the globe.
Six million archive photographs, documents, texts and films provided by museums including the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland, Israel’s Yad Vashem World Centre for Holocaust Research and the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory can be accessed at the Google Cultural Institute.
“We want to bring all of the cutting-edge technologies that we have — the services, the products, mapping — to the cultural sector,” Google’s Mark Yoshitaka said in the Polish capital Warsaw at the launch on Wednesday.
With an initial collection of 42 online themes, the archive is set to expand significantly in the coming years, he said.
“It’s a fantastic tool, which lets us cross geographic borders, provide access to museum collection around the clock in several languages. It’s a real revolution,” said Robert Kostro director of the Museum of Polish History.
“Today, we must use all technologies at our disposal to preserve memory,” Piotr Cywinski, director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum said at the launch.
Google’s virtual Cultural Institute comes on the heels of the Google Art Project allowing internet users to explore fine art from around the world with thousands of artworks photographed in extremely high resolution.
Google’s Cultural Institute Is Now a Massive Online Museum
Google’s Cultural Institute has had a shot in the arm, and is now host to a massive set of 42 online collections, which cover all manner of 20th and 21st century history.
Rich with video, images and text, the collections span everything from Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, through D-Day and Auschwitz, to civil rights’ in South Africa. In fact there’s a heavy emphasis on South Africa and its politics, a result of close collaboration with Africa Media Online.
The site guides you through all the content using a timeline, and stitches together media to form a narrative for each collection. It’s all beautifully designed—and with any luck, extra content will keep coming. [Google via Verge]
Friday, Oct 12 2012
History meets the future: Rare photos of D-Day and Queen’s coronation among stunning online cultural archives
- 42 major events are included, from Nelson Mandela’s book collection to holocaust love stories
- Search giant Google teams up with 17 major institutions to create the exhibitions
- Resources include video, photos and primary source material
By DAMIEN GAYLE
PUBLISHED: 14:26 GMT, 10 October 2012 | UPDATED: 17:42 GMT, 10 October 2012
Google have teamed up with the world’s museums for a massive update to their online ‘cultural institute’ that offers users the chance to learn about some of the major figures and events of the past century.
The latest additions to the Google Cultural Institute archives, available to view from today, are intended as an online educational resource to preserve history in a place that is accessible to people when they need it.
Major world events like D-Day, the Holocaust and the fight against Apartheid are described with a mixture of photos, historical account and contemporary quotes.
Scroll down for video
Each of the 42 exhibitions launched today features a narrative which links the archive material together to unlock the different perspectives, nuances and tales behind the events.
The stories have been put together by 17 institutions including museums, foundations and others who have drawn on their archives of letters, manuscripts, first-hand video testimonials and more.
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Much of the material is very moving – and some is being shown online for the first time.
The new exhibitions are the latest chapter in the work of the Google Cultural Institute, which has already showcased the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Holocaust Museum at Yad Vashem and the Nelson Mandela archives online.
Just as with those projects, users can zoom into photos to sea them in great detail and search through millions of items for a specific country, person, even or date.
Among the great 20th Century events now available for users to explore is the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, which includes vibrant colour photos of the event provided by Historvius.
Mike Lewis, CEO and founder of Historvius.com, said: ‘By pulling together a unique collection of bite-sized commentary, contemporary accounts and even fascinating colour images of the events themselves, our exhibit helps to bring the vibrancy of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II back to life and shines a fresh focus on this pivotal moment in modern British history.
‘For a country still rebuilding from the devastation of the Second World War, still facing rationing and still finding its way in a post-war world, this jubilant event brought a new sense of purpose and energy to the nation; not unlike the recent Royal Wedding of 2011.’
The D-Day exhibition, produced in collaboration with the Imperial War Museum, shows details of the famous landings including colour photographs, personal letters and the D-Day order itself from Admiral Ramsay.
Amanda Mason, Curator of IWM’s online exhibition D-Day on the Cultural Institute said, ‘We are incredibly excited to launch our first online exhibition.’
SOME OF THE 42 EXHIBITIONS WHICH HAVE GONE LIVE ON GOOGLE TODAY
- D-Day – details of the famous landings including colour photographs, personal letters and the D-Day order itself from Admiral Ramsay
- The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II – an account of the 1953 Coronation including colour photos
- Tragic love at Auschwitz – the story of Edek & Mala, a couple in love who try to escape Auschwitz
- Jan Karski, Humanity’s hero – first-hand video testimony from the man who attempted to inform the world about the existence of the Holocaust
- Steve Biko – a 15-year-old’s political awakening in the midst of the Apartheid movement featuring nine documents never released in the public domain
- Years of the Dolce Vita – this collection looks at the era of the ‘good life’ in Italy including the fashion, food, cars and culture
She added: ‘As the nation’s leading social history attraction, one of our highest priorities is to share our eclectic and interesting collections with audiences from further afield, so they too are able to discover and explore.
‘This is a fantastic opportunity for audiences across the globe to discover and see up close some of the most iconic works.
‘We’ve featured a vast array of material, which you will be able to view at your leisure in high resolution, for professional or personal use, at any time and in any place.’
But some of the most poignant material on the site is centred around the fight against Apartheid, which was produced together with three South African institutions, including the Steve Biko Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory.
Obenewa Amponsah, director of fundraising and partnerships at the foundation, said: ‘We decided to participate because bringing this material online through the Cultural Institute provides a great opportunity to make known not only the legacy of Steve Biko – but so many other historic figures and events – in a dynamic and accessible way.’
Sello Hatang, head of programming at Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, said: ‘The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory is excited to launch the second phase of the Nelson Mandela Digital Archive as part of the Google Cultural Institute.
‘We believe that both local and international audiences will have greater access to the life and times of Nelson Mandela.’