As part of the Decisions and Dilemmas 3: making learning about the EU motivating and meaningful project, the sixth national training event was held on the 29th of June, 2018 in Lisbon, at the headquarters of the Portuguese History Teachers Association (APH).
The president of the APH Miguel Monteiro de Barros and Association Member Joaquim Carvalho prepared and implemented the workshops held in this event, with the participation of an international partner and trainer, the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR) Educational Officer Loizos Loukaidis from Cyprus. The participants who attended this event were all teachers from different schools of the secondary level. Thirteen were from various locations around the country, and seven were from Lisbon where the training was held.
The event began with Miguel Monteiro de Barros giving a summary of the project’s three phases and highlighting the importance of such a project and its beneficial implications for the integration of the EU. He stressed the importance of focusing more on social and daily life benefits brought by the EU, and less on political data such as treaties. He also informed the participants that amongst the materials provided to them, there was a pen drive that contained the three workshops discussed, in both Portuguese and English versions.
This was followed by the start of the event’s first workshop “Comércio a uma escala global” (Trade in a global context) by Joaquim Carvalho. For this workshop, the participants worked in groups of four and at the end of the session, each group presented its conclusions. All the participants were adamant about the utility of this theme for their teaching practice.
After lunch, Joaquim Carvalho presented the second workshop, which involved the use of drama: “Erguendo-se das ruínas” (Rising from ruins). The activity could not take place given the fact that the space available was not very adequate. Instead, the trainer presented the materials and explained how they could/should be used in a classroom context. After the presentation, there was a discussion about the material.
Then, workshop three dealt with “Opening Europe’s borders”, given by the international partner and trainer Loizos Loukaidis. This workshop was given in English, as one of the prerequisites to attend this event was having knowledge of the English language. Again, the participants were divided into groups in order to discuss the material presented on a smaller scale. The participants found the activities very useful and engaging.
The event ended with a presentation by Miguel Monteiro de Barros about Historiana. He demonstrated how units are grouped and how resources can be accessed through a hands-on activity. The participants were highly engaged in the activity.
Reflecting on the event, participants expressed their genuine interest and determination to include the EU and its integration in their teaching practice. Miguel Monteiro de Barros informed that this project is already having an effect on the Portuguese curricula, as the APH is cooperating with teams from the Ministry of Education on a national project that deals with changing the way various disciplines are taught. The main objective of this project is to teach what is essential with a more practical and transversal approach. The APH was asked by the Ministry of Education to look into the history programs and change them where needed. Some of the outcomes of the project ‘Decisions & Dilemmas’ have been incorporated in that work.
Finally, the participants looked back on the event very positively. The event even ended later than planned due to a high level of participation.
This article is based on the report written by Miguel Monteiro de Barros from the Portuguese History Teachers’ Association.
As part of the Decisions and Dilemmas 3: making learning about the EU motivating and meaningful project, the Cypriot national training event was held on the 28th and 29th of August, 2018 in Platres.
The workshops of this national training were facilitated by the Educational Programs Officer of the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR), Mr. Loizos Loukaidis, Educator and AHDR Associate Researcher Ms. Evie Grouta, and Joaquim Carvalho from the Association of History Educators of Portugal. Participants of the workshop came from diverse backgrounds, including from Greek-speaking and Turkish-speaking primary and secondary education, teachers from public and private schools across the divide in Cyprus as well as youth and NGO workers, graduates of different universities and retired historians and teachers.
The first day of the event started with an introduction to the work of the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR) by Loizos Loukaidis. Some participants were already familiar with the work of the AHDR, and thus they were invited to participate in the presentation and contribute to the discussion. This offered a sense of belonging and continuity that impressed new participants. The presentation also offered participants an insight into the vision, mission and different projects and activities of the AHDR. This acquaintance of participants with the organization is expected to act as a multiplier for future events and collaborations.
Following this presentation, Ms. Grouta and Mr. Loukaidis engaged the participants in an introductory workshop on Historiana. In this context, the participants were reminded of basic historical concepts that would be useful for their work during the workshop. Then the tools themselves, Historiana and Europeana, were introduced through a presentation and demonstration. Participants were divided into mixed groups and discussed the execution of different tasks such as the creation of their own learning resources, which they subsequently presented in the plenary. Most participants expressed interest in exploring this new tool and were happy to know that there are also lesson plans provided in their mother tongue. They found the website useful and stated that they will make use of the lesson plans as much as possible. They were also informed that they have the opportunity to modify the level of resources as well as the duration and complexity according to age groups.
On the second day of the event, Ms. Grouta and Mr. Loukaidis elaborated on the research results of ‘Teaching Europe to enhance EU cohesion’ and briefly provided the participants with background information on the overall project and the partners. They stressed the role of EuroClio as the umbrella organization bringing together different educational stakeholders around issues concerning the teaching and learning of History. The workshop facilitators presented the research results, making the necessary connections with the Cypriot context across the divide and invited the participants to share their professional experience. The participants were extremely interested in finding out how such a diverse group of educators working in such different and complex conditions managed to collaborate to bring together the results from such a wide spectrum of educational backgrounds and produce educational material that would cater everybody’s educational needs. The facilitators made sure that participants realized the importance of addressing cross-cutting issues to teach about European History and the necessity to engage in educational activities that highlight the importance of identities and the complexity of interactions in contemporary Europe. During the discussion, participants identified both challenges and opportunities while engaging in the study of the European History, which is – up to a certain extent – neglected because of the focus on local histories and the histories of the so-called motherlands of Cyprus. This engagement with the History of Europe and the EU, according to their feedback, will help them to also understand the regional conditions and draw the connections with other contexts thus connecting the micro to the macro as a prerequisite of the educational process while studying history.
Following the aforementioned presentations, Mr. Carvalho presented the work of his Association in Portugal and, then, himself and Ms. Grouta facilitated the activity “Trade in a Global Context – How does European Trade affect African Chicken farmers?” employing the relevant Historiana unit. The aim of the unit was for participants to understand how complex the question of the impact of the EU trade policy on Africa is and that answers are equally complex. The participants were grouped and worked on the activity sheets provided in order to identify consequences and effects. They discussed ‘Who benefits most from the current practice of exporting cheap chicken meat to Africa?’ and subsequently worked on comparing and contrasting ideas. In addition, participants discussed issues of social justice, post-colonialism, and compassion as well as fair trade practices and the role of citizens and states in this process. Most educators suggested that this lesson plan could also be used in the Geography and Citizenship class. Most importantly, participants engaged in a discussion on the methodological tools employed in this educational process and gave feedback on how they would approach this issue in their classrooms.
Next, participants engaged in educational activities under the theme of ‘Opening Europe’s Borders for People and border controls in a (post)Schengen world – How did the migrant crisis shake the foundations and principles of the European Union?’. The aims of this activity, facilitated by Mr. Loukaidis, were for participants to identify and analyze the positions of various actors in the EU in relation to the migrant crisis, including people who are pro- and anti- ending Schengen freedom of movement, and the perspective of people living outside Schengen. Furthermore, participants had to assess in what ways and to what extent the migrant crisis has influenced relations within the EU and give their own reasoned argument as to how the EU should cope with the migrant crisis.
At a first stage, Mr. Loukaidis presented the history of Schengen and assisted participants in learning to deal with questions that move students from the facts on to starting to form their own opinions. Then, before moving on to group work, he introduced the migrants’ crises with the animated maps so that participants would get acquainted with the main developments and routes of migration to Europe since 2004. Following this background information, the participants were divided into mixed groups (according to community background and gender) and provided with files of source material representing different opinions on the migration crisis and the future of Schengen. Students studied the source material carefully and completed the worksheet which was used in the following discussions.
Representatives of all groups then presented arguments to address different questions using information from the perspectives they had studied. That is, they were taking the position of the viewpoint they had just studied. The facilitator stressed that this technique can help students feel more comfortable discussing emotional and controversial topics. To complete the activity, the participants had to think about what they would write in a paragraph answering the question ‘How did the migrant crisis shake the foundations and principles of the European Union?’. The activity ended with a discussion on how they would transfer the knowledge and skills acquainted through this activity in their educational contexts. It is worth mentioning that the suspension of the Schengen Agreement for Cyprus – due to its political issue – as well as the sensitivities and the restrictions to the freedom of movement from one side of Cyprus to the other were part of the discussions during the reflection phase of this activity.
Overall, the participants were highly engaged and participated actively in all stages of the workshop. The participants welcomed the AHDR team as well as the international expert and all of them were engaging in discussions in mixed groups. They expressed their content about the knowledge and skills provided during the workshop and assured us that, with certain adaptations to their context, they can utilize the knowledge they have gained in their classrooms. They seemed very engaged in discussions about contemporary issues such as migration, fair trade, social responsibility, intercultural understanding etc., and stressed the role of history in suggesting alternatives and as functioning as a vehicle for educational and social change.
This article is based on the report written by Mr. Loizos Loukaidis, Educational Programs Officer of the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR).
At the Learning to Disagree training seminar in Berlin, Jaco Stoop and Judith Geerling presented the Historiana eLearning environment to the core team. The resources that will be developed within the Learning to Disagree project will feature on Historiana. However, EuroClio decided this training seminar also presented a unique opportunity to familiarize a group of European educators with the rich content offered by the Europeana Collections. This is mainly important be cause throughout the project, the core team will have to include source material that is multi-perspective, transnational and free to use for education in their learning activities.
In order to demonstrate how educators can use the Europeana Collections to create learning activities with Historiana, Jaco selected sources of the horse-drawn carriage Golden Coach, which is at the center of political debate in The Netherlands. The attendants learned how to add these sources from the Europeana Collections to their own Historiana environment. Subsequently, several elements of the eActivity Builder were shown, such as the tool to analyze and annotate visual sources. In addition to adding sources directly from the Europeana Collections, Jaco also highlighted the exemplar source collections and learning activities that have been developed within the EuroClio partnership with Europeana.
In the coming weeks, EuroClio will publish a new series of source collections that have been developed specially to address challenges related to the teaching of historical thinking skills. Together with the source collections, exemplar learning activities have been made available that show how the collections can be used in practice. Another online eTwinning webinar has been organised on 25 June 2018 at 6:30pm CET 5.30pm GMT.
As mobile phones, laptops and tablets are becoming a more prominent feature in schools everywhere, teachers are trying to find ways to deal with the challenges that come with these developments. They are aware of the fact that education must be adjusted to the needs of students in a digital era. Educators sometimes experience technology as challenging, however, they also appreciate the benefits of teaching in a digital era, by using online interactive teaching tools that offer added value to their lessons for example
In our view, history education in particular is well-placed to benefit from these technological developments. Online technology can provide students with many more historical sources than traditional textbooks, or present them with a variety of viewpoints that promote multi-perspectivity. EuroClio’s online history education portal Historiana offers precisely that: a plethora of digitised collections of primary sources, exemplar learning activities and teaching strategies, and an e-learning environment for teachers to create their own learning materials. The development of Historiana is supported by the Europeana Foundation.
Early next year, the Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee of the European Commission will vote on a new directive concerning the use of copyrighted materials for educational purposes across the EU. The directive, in theory, aims to expand upon existing exemptions from copyright legislation in education at an EU level. While this sounds desirable, in reality the directive falls short of this goal, and contains numerous caveats that would in fact hinder the continuous development of high quality, cross-border educational resources. In response to this, EuroClio, in partnership with COMMUNIA and the Lifelong Learning Platform, amongst others, are advocating for the development of a more open and effective copyright framework that would allow educators the freedom to fully take advantage of the technologies available to them, thus making high quality education more accessible for all.
Representatives from EuroClio and a variety of other institutions including COMMUNIA, Wikimedia, and SPARC Europe, met at the offices of the Lifelong Learning Platform in Brussels in November to strategise and streamline these advocacy efforts for better copyright in education. As it stands, the directive would serve to allow for the sharing of copyrighted materials for educative purposes, but only under certain circumstances that we believe to be inadequate for the modern teaching and learning environment, and the meeting provided a space to articulate the most pressing of these concerns.
The meeting arrived at the identification of the following primary concerns with the current directive:
The issue was highlighted further by EuroClio Deputy Director Steven Stegers when collecting the award for Best Practice in Education and Innovation Pedagogy for Historiana's eLearning Environment at Lifelong Learning Week, as the current directive would seriously impact the efficacy and quality of the Historiana platform, and received further support from various people present at the awards.
Written by Laura Steenbrink
Edited by Steven Stegers and Will Mason
As part of the “Media and History. From cinema to the web. Studying, representing and teaching European history in the digital age” project, Laura Steenbrink (with contributions from Rick Hoefsloot, Bjorn Pels, Joyce Schäftlein, Romana Sijakovic and Steven Stegers) analysed how history is represented on television and on the internet in The Netherlands. The “Media and History” project is coordinated by Instituto per la Storia e le Memorie del ‘900 Parri.
This voices blog post serves as a summary of the findings – to view the full report and its findings (as well as matching analyses for Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom), visit http://www.e-story.eu/observatory/ongoing-research/history-and-tv-in-netherlands-2016/. The analysis is made possible with the support of the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.
The main history offer on Dutch TV consists of history documentaries that are produced in the Netherlands, co-funded by public money, and broadcasted on public channels. Yet a significant bulk of historical TV are international productions, consisting of historical movies (mostly blockbusters from Hollywood), and some history documentaries.
The most important and well-known history programme is Andere Tijden (different times), which has been broadcasted since 10 March 2000. This weekly show, which is every year broadcasted during several months, covers a large variety of Dutch historical events and developments. In a typical episode, the presenter, who is also a historian, introduces a topic and goes on a quest to find more information. Interviews with experts and eyewitnesses follows, and is complemented with original footage.
In addition to Andere Tijden, several history documentaries focusing on Dutch history have been produced. These documentaries delve into topics such as ‘The Golden century’, ‘The Iron century’, ‘Slavery’, and ‘Liberation’. To mark the 200-year anniversary of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, several programmes were made about the history of the royal family. These were Het koninkrijk (the Kingdom), Drie Vorstinnen (Three Queens), and Drie Koningen (Three Kings).
The history documentaries produced in the Netherlands tend to focus on national history, but there has been one notable exception: the documentary series In Europa, (in Europe). It covers the whole of the European history in the twentieth century, with eyewitnesses and relatives of historical events interviewed, and places of memory visited.
In the last decade, several commercial movie productions focused on history. This trend started with the movie Zwartboek (Black Book) that was produced in 2006 and is to date the most expensive movie produced in the Netherlands of all time. In terms of popular culture, the focus of Zwartboek on the Second World War, and the Dutch resistance in particular, fits in a longer tradition. Especially in the field of literature, the Second World War has been by far the most common history topic.
A more recent example of a commercial movie produced in the Netherlands and focussed on history is Michiel de Ruyter (published in English under the title ‘The Admiral’ in 2015). The movie focusses on Michiel de Ruyter, who is most known for the navel battles he fought against the British in the 17th Century. Much historical debate followed with a number of groups finding it problematic that no attention was given in the movie to slavery. Some historians argue that Michiel de Ruyter should be judged in the context of his time, and some argue that he did conquer back forts that were enabled slavery to take place.
The project team agreed to look in more detail at a typical week of TV. This means that there should be no holidays or national remembrance days during this week. For our analysis, we analysed the programmes that were on offer from 17 June - 23 June 2016.
During this week, there were 6 programs broadcasted related to history. Four of these programs were part of a documentary type series, called De Strijd (“The Battle”) describing the emergence of the labour movement in the Netherlands. The other history related offer consisted of a movie, The Young Victoria, and one other documentary called Drie Vorstinnen van Oranje (“Three female sovereigns of Orange”).
Except one movie, all history related programs are documentaries. The topics are related to the history of the 19th and 20th century. None of the programs focuses on one specific event, as many programmes highlight a broader theme, rather than a specific historical moment. The people that account for the past in the programs vary from witnesses, to voiceovers, actors to historians. Almost all programs were analytical in the sense that the topic or issue of the documentary is looked at from different perspectives. With the exception of the Young Victoria movie, all programs broadcasted this week, were co-financed with public money. This could imply that not many commercial channels think it would be profitable to broadcast or produce programs that are related to history. Finally, the viewing statistics are relatively low. The history programmes had between 50.000 and 311.000 viewers.
In sum, the history offer on TV in the Netherlands consists mainly of history documentaries focussed on different aspects of national history, made with the support of the government. There are also commercial movies related to national history, reaching different audiences, typically focussed national heroes. There is little attention for history that is not directly related to the history of the Netherlands.
Of all three Remembrance Days (4 May – commemorating all Dutch victims of war since the beginning of the Second World War; 5 May – commemorating the liberation of the Netherlands from Nazi German occupation; and 1 July – commemorating the abolition of slavery in Surinam and the Antilles in 1863), the 4 May Remembrance Day receives most coverage on TV. Whereas the broadcast of the Remembrance Ceremony of 4 May was watched by 2.560.000, the Remembrance Ceremony of 30 June, was watched by 95.000. The difference in time of the broadcast – the 30 June ceremony was broadcasted at 23:40 - 00:15 – is likely to be part of the explanation why less viewers watched this ceremony compared to the ceremony on 4 May. The history offer related to the Remembrance Days are almost exclusive made by national institutes and co-funded by the government.
The history offer on TV in the Netherlands mainly looks at history through a national lens. The history offer on TV mostly consists of national productions co-financed with public money in the form of history documentaries. The most watched programmes are part of a series giving an overview of national history in a particular period. Recently, there are more movies being produced commercially. These commercial movies focus on national heroes.
In terms of remembrance, most attention is given to remembering the victims of the Second World War from the Netherlands. There is an official Remembrance Day commemorating the end of slavery on 1 July, but except for the news broadcast, it does not impact the offer on TV. No TV programmes are related to the celebration of Europe Day and is not mentioned in the news as well.
Several debates related to history in the Netherlands are related to the colonial past. Examples are the debates about the use of the Golden Carriage by the King and Queen during prinsjesdag, the protest related to the release of the Michiel de Ruyter movie, the ongoing debate about the Black Pete, the celebration of the VOC mentality by then Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende. The media, including newspapers and radio programmes pick up these debates and provide background information and present different points of view.
To view the full report and its findings (as well as matching analyses for Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom), visit http://www.e-story.eu/observatory/.
When I first heard about Europeana in 2008, I could immediately see what potential having one common reference point for European cultural content could have on education. Having one central access point to explore the diverse collections of archives, museums and libraries would, for example, enable students across Europe to compare and contrast how historical events were reported, to do archival research from any place with an internet connection, and to find sources that challenge preconceptions with much less time and effort.
Of course, this vision had yet to be turned in to a reality, and realising this vision is easier said than done. There were, and still are, many obstacles that stand in the way of providing full access to the collections, but important steps have been made, and Europeana is now much closer to achieving its original vision than when it started. It is now possible to filter on the size of an image, making it possible to leave out those sources that are too small to be of use. More sources are available in high quality (stimulated by the availability of higher quality scanners and improved digitisation techniques). There has been a significant increase in the amount of sources that are licensed in a way that they allow for educational (re)-use and it is possible to search for similar items in the Europeana collections (so that you can find a set of sources, rather than just an individual source). Finally, it is now possible to have direct access to the source (which offers more opportunities for the use of Europeana by third parties).
Since Europeana has started with the support of the European Commission and several member states, cultural institutes from Europe and beyond have worked together to provide access to cultural heritage on themes or topics of common interest via this platform. As a result of these efforts, it is now possible to search, for example, historical newspapers by date and see differences and similarities on the reporting of the same event in different newspapers. It is possible to see how news travelled in a time when communication was not so quick, to see what significance was given to the event (by looking at the place and length of the coverage) and compare what images have been used to illustrate the events.
Efforts have been made to provide access to sources of a certain type (such as photography through EuropeanaPhotography and EuroPhoto or moving images through EUScreen, European Digital Film Gateway and EUScreenXL), to sources related to a field of interest (such as Jewish History though Judaica or social and labour history through HOPE – History of People’s Europe), or historical events (such as the First World One through Europeana1914-1918 or EuropeanaCollections1914-1918 and the Social Political Changes in 1989 through Europeana1989). The fact that these efforts have been made by cultural institutes from multiple countries makes it possible for educators to access a much wider range of sources (compared to searching only one institute) and the streamlining of metadata makes it increasingly easier to find matching sources from the collections of different cultural institutes.
From the perspective of providers of educational resources, having one central point to access the collections of multiple archives, museums and libraries is beneficial because it enables them to directly make use of those sources that are licensed for educational use (as long as direct links are available). EuroClio – Inspiring History and Citizenship Educators, is a provider of educational resources, and is currently building online tools that educators can use to create their own online learning activities together with Webtic (an innovative internet company) and educators from its network to be integrated in Historiana (an online educational resource designed for history learning). In this context, EuroClio, Webtic and Europeana worked together with Europeana in the Europeana DSI1 project to create a Search and Select tool that enables educators to directly search the Europeana Collections and select sources that they want to use in their educational practice. If Europeana would not provide one central access point to the collections of various archives, museums and archives, it would have been very costly and labour-intensive to help educators access the same sources.
What can still be improved, in terms of stimulating the use of the collections in education, is that educators should need less time to find what they are looking for. It can be difficult for someone who is not familiar with Europeana to get a sense of what the collections are about (within the Search and Select tool, we tried to help educators with this by providing brief overviews of selected content providers to help educators decide why they might be interested to search the collection of a specific archive). What can also help is to ensure that the Europeana Collections have enough relevant source materials on at least those areas of learning that are (most) common in curricula across Europe. For example, whereas a search on “First World War” leads to 90,094 results that are allowed to be used with attribution or restriction, a search on “Industrial Revolution” leads to only 73 results. This does not mean that there are no relevant sources, but it does mean that it takes time for educators to find what they need. In an ideal scenario the most relevant sources would be highlighted or presented as a set with a manageable amount of selected sources (as EuroClio had done for several sets of sources). This can be done by actively engaging communities of educators (to help set priorities for digitisation), and further investment in digitisation and improving metadata to ensure that usable content for key areas of the curriculum can be found in the Europeana Collections.
The more complete the Europeana Collections are and the easier it gets for educators or providers of educational resources to find what they are looking for, the more valuable Europeana will be become.
Young people today are living in a world full of technology, and have hardly any personal memory of life before these technologies were introduced. Therefore, it can be hard for them to imagine what life was like without modern means of communication, transportation and documentation. Focusing on one particular type of technology and showing how this technology evolved over time, can help students to get a better chronological understanding and see how the past differs from the present.
Within the Europeana Collections there are many resources related to innovation and technology, and archives. Tekniska Museet (the Swedish National Museum for Science and Technology) and Danmarks Tekniske Museum (the Technical Museum of Denmark) are even specialised in this field. Consequently there exists a vast amount of artefacts, images, videos available that can be used to learn about changes in technology. Because the amount of information available can be overwhelming, Europeana and EuroClio worked together to make collections that show how certain types of technology (cars, airplanes, photo cameras, music recorders, maps, mobile phone) have evolved over time and changed people’s lives.
The source collections on photo cameras and music recordings can also be used to help students reflect on how technology impacts the way we look at the past, because it is only through these means that we have a record of the past. The source collection of mobile phones can help students realise how quick some changes can happen, when they ask their parents what life was like in the past, when they could not be reached at all times with a mobile phone. The source collection on cars and airplanes can help students understand how the world became relatively smaller because more people could travel bigger distances more easily. This had a big impact on the economy, the military and everyday life. The source collection on maps helps students realise that there was a time when people had literally no idea where they were going, and that our knowledge of what is where is the result of centuries of collecting information.
Together, these source collections can help to look at social history through the lens of technology and to compare the speed of societal change. The collections also help to make judgements about the significance of technological changes and innovations for the world today. The source collections also show how the demand of people changes over time, where aspects like aesthetics, price and user-friendliness play an important role.
A relatively small number of historical figures is dominating history. Historical figures appear in history textbooks, in movies, in documentaries, in literature, but also in the collections of archives, museums and libraries. Although there are many sources about these well-known historical figures in the collections of museums, archives and libraries, only a limited number of these are used in education. This leads to a narrow understanding of those figures who have helped to shape history as there is little room in the classroom to address the controversies and complexities that characterize history and good history education with a limited set of sources.
The dominance of a small number of sources related to some historical figures, is reinforced by the supremacy of a limited number of websites that appear most frequent as search results. If you can find a good source in almost no time, why choose another? The main challenge is probably the amount of time that it can take to find these sources. Language barriers and copyright restrictions can make finding sources more difficult. To overcome these barriers, EuroClio, in partnership with Europeana, has created sets of sources that put well-known historical figures in a new light. Europeana offers the unique opportunity to search the collections of various archives and museums. It can be difficult to search across these collections because institutes tend to use their own way of curation and categorization, but in the case of the historical figures, it is possible to find related sources, because almost all institutes have used the person name as search term. The results of this cooperation are now published at Historiana in the form of a new series of source collections.
A rationale for selecting historical figures
Any choice for historical figures will have its limitations. With limited time at our hands we could never do justice to the diverse range of historical figures that could also have been chosen. The purpose was also not to make a definitive and all-inclusive selection of historical figures, but to find out what can be gained from looking for sources about known historical figures in the collections of different archives. The people we chose to focus on – Julius Caesar, Jeanne d’Arc, Adolf Hitler, Charles Darwin, Joseph Stalin and Queen Victoria – are all figures that most people in Europe will have heard about. They have been the topic of extensive debate and multiple interpretations.
How can these source collections be used to teach history?
The source collections offer the opportunity to see to what extent the associations that people have with these historical figures are resonating with the selected sources from the different memory institutes. The source collections can also be used to compare and contrast the sources that different memory institutes have and have not included in their collection about the same historical figures. In addition, because it is clear for each source where the source is coming from (e.g. which institute provided the source), the source collections can also be used to learn about the way memory institutes are building their collections. How do sources arrive in their collection? What criteria were used to select and describe sources? Students can be asked to select sources that challenge or change their ideas about the historical figure and to explain how these sources are challenging or changing their ideas. Alternatively, teachers can use the source collections to challenge the students to make connections between sources, explain the order or ask them to make suggestions for sources that could be added to the collections.