Europeana digital library project recalls fall of Iron Curtain

Europeana, Europe’s digital library, museum and archive, has launched a new project titled 'Europeana 1989'. People across Europe are invited to share their experiences, stories and memorabilia from the time of the fall of the Iron Curtain in a digital archive.

This release will also be available in the languages of the former Communist states.

The project started in Poland last week with a public debate and a collection day. Europeana 1989 will continue with collection days in Poland, the Baltic states, the Czech Republic, Germany and Hungary.

For the 25th anniversary in 2014 of the events of 1989, Europeana 1989 aims to create a vivid and personal picture of the revolutionary events in Europe with stories, photos, videos and sound. Members of the public can contribute their stories at a series of collection days in each of the countries taking part as well as via the project website.

A debate on the importance of preserving the experiences and memories of ordinary people involved in the struggle for freedom took place on 8 June during the inaugural collection day in Warsaw. Each partner country was represented by a project ambassador who played a significant role in the events of 1989 and will now continue to support and promote Europeana 1989.

At the conclusion of the debate, the project ambassadors shared their own private memorabilia and stories to launch the collection day, followed by people from Warsaw and other parts of Poland, who brought personal memorabilia ranging from photos to underground pamphlets, and from a teddy bear up to the biggest object digitised so far: a Polonez car, produced in Poland during the 80s.

‘History isn't just about the objects in a museum or the accounts in a book; it's about real people's untold stories. Ordinary people make extraordinary history and we must be proud of that and share our stories with whole world,' said Jill Cousins, executive director.

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