Your country needs your wartime memorabilia

Fri, Mar 16, 2012, 00:00

EVER WONDERED about the provenance of an old family photograph or a stack of letters gathering dust in the attic? If so, the National Library wants to see them.

As part of the build-up to the 100th anniversary of the first World War in 2014, the library is taking part in a European-wide initiative aimed at digitising the war through family histories and artefacts.

On Wednesday next, the Kildare Street venue in Dublin will play host to a unique history roadshow at which members of the public can bring in their wartime memorabilia and tell their stories.

People are invited to bring in photographs, letters, postcards, medals, diaries and any other keepsakes belonging to their family and friends who took part in the war.

The objects will be scanned or digitally photographed on the spot before being catalogued and uploaded to the “Europeana” website – Europe’s digital library, museum and archive.

There will also be a team of experts on hand – in the style of the BBC’s popular Antiques Road Show programme – to explain the provenance and context of some of the more unusual items.

Announcing details of the event yesterday, director of the National Library Fiona Ross said that as the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the war approaches, it is vital we preserve precious documents and other memorabilia in digital format for future generations, in remembrance of the war and its effect on people’s lives.

“We want ordinary families to tell us about their keepsakes, who they belonged to and why they are so important to them – and we will save those memories in our archive:”

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