Thursday December 7th, 2023
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The Palestinian Museum Digital Archive as a Weapon of Resistance

Established in 2018, the Palestinian Museum Digital Archive is a vital resource for documents, images, and stories at risk of erasure.

Farah Desouky

Throughout history, oppressive forces have sought to obliterate the collective memories and identities of nations. Since the 1948 Nakba, Palestinians have been engaged in a dual struggle against occupation and the erasure of history that validates their rightful claim to their land and their very existence. Established in 2018, the Palestinian Museum Digital Archive is a vital resource for documents, images and stories at risk of obliteration.

The Palestinian Museum Digital Archive’s website states, “A visitor can browse the Archive by exploring the different collections offered by hundreds of Palestinians to be safely saved for future generations. One can also navigate the website through topics that summarize many aspects of Palestinian life such as culture & arts, resistance & struggle, displacement & diaspora, social & organizational movement, everyday life, education & extracurricular activities, women, and others.”

The Palestinian Museum Digital Archive showcases over two centuries of Palestinian stories from the viewpoint of ordinary people, often marginalised or forgotten by historical accounts. This project serves a dual purpose: it encourages the practice of safeguarding and digital archiving, while also highlighting the significance of archives and their potential to create awareness.

With categories encompassing music, family records, architecture, social and institutional activism and more, the digital archive serves as an essential tool for both Palestinian and global citizens. The archive is open to public submissions and can be accessed through their website.

The Palestinian Museum Digital Archive first launched in its initial phase on February 18th, 2018, followed by the second phase on March 1st, 2021. It is now poised to launch a third phase, continuing its mission while expanding its geographical reach, relationships, and partnerships, both within and beyond Palestine.

Since its inception, the project has established a network of institutional connections with local and international partners with a vested interest in Palestinian archives. It has also endeavoured to form collaborative partnerships and strategic relationships within the local community and with other organisations engaged in archival work and academic research. These efforts have been closely aligned with the Palestinian Museum's diverse research and educational programs.

Recently, numerous Palestinian individuals, families, and institutions have generously offered their archives, making them accessible to Palestinians within Palestine and in the diaspora, as well as to individuals worldwide interested in Palestinian history. Researchers and artists also have the opportunity to utilise this distinctive archive in their creative projects and research.

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