After 30 months, the Europeana Food and Drink project is ending, but its impact should last some time longer: Following our new content providers campaign, we are proud to present one of the special new contributor, the Natonal Historical Museum in Athens.
We asked PostScriptum from Greece, partner and work package lead of the project, how this collaboration came about and how the National Historical Museum will contribute to Europeana Food and Drink.
How did you get in contact with the National Historical Museum?
PostScriptum (PS) maintains a long lasting cooperation with the Historical and Ethnological Society of Greece, owner of the National Historical Museum in Athens and of its department, the Lazaros Koundouriotis Historic Mansion on the island of Hydra. PS implemented the project “National Historical Museum. Virtual Exhibitions and Educational Applications for Modern Greek History” under the NSRF and the Operational Programme Digital Convergence, which lasted from November 2013 to May 2015. With the implementation of this project, the National Historical Museum was rendered capable of opening its collections to the public through the use of digital media. Collections were digitized, documented and uploaded to the well-known collection management system MuseumPlus, and then re-used for the production of various educational applications (virtual exhibitions, virtual tours, educational apps etc), available through the also upgraded internet site of the museum (www.nhmuseum.gr) and through the online Google Play Store and Apple App Store. The general aim of the project was to signal and put on track the new “digital openness” policy of the museum.
Following this successful collaboration, PostScriptum got in contact with the National Historical Museum in the context of the New Content Providers Campaign that was running. We thought it’s a cultural organization ready and mature to contribute to a project such as Europeana Food and Drink. The project was an opportunity for the Museum to expand the horizons of its collections under a different perspective, increase their impact, promote the collections at a European and international level and make them available for re-use by other services.
Could you tell us more about the museum and their content highlights?
The Historical and Ethnological Society of Greece is a private, non-profit trustee foundation, dealing with modern Greek history. Being the oldest such institution in Greece (founded 1882), it is recognised by the State as of National Interest, and is housed in the Old Parliament Building, a historic landmark of Athens.
The National Historical Museum contains precious collections, such as Flags, Arms and Armour, Portraits and landscape Paintings, Costumes and Personal Possessions of historic persons. It also contains an important ethnographic department, as well as Archives of Historic Documents and Photo-archives of primary importance. Its Permanent display centers around the ideological revival leading to the Greek War of Independence of 1821, the war itself and the efforts all through the 19th and early 20th c. for political development and territorial expansion of the Modern Greek State. Temporary exhibitions deal with numbers of other issues, related to alternative aspects of the same periods (social and cultural issues etc), with other periods of time, up to today, or with commemorative anniversaries of highlight events. The museum also publishes an array of scientific and popularising editions on historical subjects, and organises cultural and scientific events and meetings.
What kind of content will the National Historical Museum provide to Europeana?
The National Historical Museum has proposed to provide documented images of objects from its collections and of archival material. The aim is to highlight an aspect of the private life of historic persons, of habits and customs of their time, of political decisions relating to the production and consumption of comestibles, of the arts as applied on utensils of cooking and eating, and of their political implications.
Examples of such objects would be:
- Decrees and official announcements on the cultivation of specific products
- Pictures relating to the production of food and drink in traditional rural society
- Furniture and food and drink utensils owned and used by historic persons
- Romantic porcelain decorated with Greek subjects, created for the support of the Greek Independence movement.
- Works of art depicting aspects of daily life relating to food and drink, or even related still life paintings.
Initially, the NHM is able to rapidly provide at least 50 items from this non-exhaustive list, with the understanding that the number may rise according to availability following research in the museum’s documentation system.
By Vasia Pierrou, PostScriptum and Angelika Leitner, Austrian National Library