‘Travelling booklet’ (Wanderbuch) of Jakab Modern, tool smith journeyman

European Digital Treasures project partner Hungary has opened its second exhibition titled ‘Exiles, Migratory Flows and Solidarity” on May 5th, 2022 at the beautiful Castle Garden in Budapest.  The exhibition explores the issues such as the cultural results of transnational migrations, on what ground solidarity stands when it comes to inclusion of the hopeless and how the host communities react after different migration flows. The exhibition looks at these issues from a historical perspective and presents a series of related events through 47 key documents.

© Várkert Bazár.

Besides the digital panels the exhibition includes a few original documents that are originally kept by the National Archives of Hungary. These documents are exhibited carefully supervised by conservators continuously. Regarding the summer heatwaves in Hungary the Hungarian conservators team has to be beware of critically high humidity levels. These documents because of their uniqueness are central of interest of school groups, travellers and historians from all around Europe.

In this blogpost we would like to introduce one of the original pieces exhibited at the Castle Garden. This archival document is the ‘Travelling booklet’ (Wanderbuch) of Jakab Modern, tool smith journeyman. Jakab Modern was the Magistrate of the Royal Free City of Pozsony (today: Bratislava, Slovakia), a famous tool smith master throughout Europe.

Reference Number: HU MNL OL P 975 II. 59. № 2. Kept by the National Archives of Hungary
© Zsuzsanna Lantos.

Undergirding the development of modern Europe between the 1780s and 1849 was an unprecedented economic transformation that embraced the first stages of the great Industrial Revolution and a still more general expansion of commercial activity.

From this ‘Wanderbuch’ we can walk down on history lane and learn that its owner, Jakab Modern has been wandering in German speaking regions for several years: Potsdam, Leipzig, Hamburg, Bremen, Hameln, Frankfurt, Mannheim, Ulm, München, Landshut, Regensburg, Linz were his destinations. According to this travelling document, after returning home, he also travelled through Switzerland and France. Among other cities he visited Zurich, Basel, Bern, Mühlhausen (a city in the north-west of Thuringia, Germany) and Paris. The booklet contains about 35 written folios.

Jakab after being employed by a master for several years, and producing a qualifying piece of work, the guild apprentice became a journeyman (German: Geselle, Hungarian: vándorlegény). He had his certifications from his master of the guild, which proved that he successfully completed his apprenticeship. It also meant that he is entitled to travel to other towns and countries, learning the art from other masters (these journeys lead sometimes to quite distant parts of Europe and became an unofficial way of communicating new methods and techniques). However, only a few journeymen made such long travels as the tool smith Jakab Modern did.

It would be wrong to think, however, that the Industrial Revolution eradicated artisanship entirely. The Wanderbuch (travelling booklet) of Jakab Modern is a testament to that. It records the journeys of a tool smith in Central Europe during the years 1823–1829. Just by browsing through it one can get a good impression of what Modern’s working life was like.

The exhibition can be visited until the 5th of August, 2022 at the wonderful location of the Castle Garden of Budapest, Hungary.

Written by:
Dorottya Szabó, Archivist of the National Archives of Hungary
Anna Palcsó, Public Education Officer of the National Archives of Hungary

Photograph: Zsuzsanna Lantos, National Archives of Hungary

Exhibition II: Opening in St. Pölten – Austria

On July 1st, 2022, the opening of the 2nd part of the exhibition series of the EU project “European Digital Treasures” took place at the Museum am Dom in St. Pölten. After the questioning of the “Becoming of Europe” in the first part, the second part is now dedicated to the complex of questions “migration flows – exile – solidarity” – Europe in turmoil.

Opening ceremony at the air-raid shelter of the diocese.

The air-raid shelter of the diocese was deliberately chosen as the venue for the event, in order to convey an authentic sense of what war, flight and persecution have always meant in concrete terms for the people concerned during the opening ceremony.

The interested audience of about 50 people was first introduced to the compilation by the museum director Barbara Taubinger in her welcoming speech, followed by ICARUS president Thomas Aigner, the representative of the province Florian Krumböck and the mayor of St. Pölten Matthias Stadler, who formulated their thoughts on the frighteningly topical subject. Finally, the exhibition was ceremoniously opened by Diocesan Bishop Alois Schwarz.

left to right: Matthias Stadler, Alois Schwarz, Barbara Taubinger, Thomas Aigner & Florian Krumböck after the opening ceremony.

The show will be on display for two months until the 28th of August and uses primary sources from nine major European archives to convey the various aspects of the topic. In addition to labour- and war-related migration, a third section is devoted to expulsion as a result of uprisings and state intolerance.

Written by Karl Heinz, International Centre for Archival Research.

MANAGING WATER IN TOLEDO: Artificio Juanelo

“Plan of a machine to raise fresh water from the river to the Alcázar of Toledo and supply the city” is one of the Spanish contributions to the third transmedia exhibition of the Project European Digital Treasures, “European Discoveries – From the New World to New Technologies”, held by the General Archive of the Indies (Seville, Spain) from April 29th 2022 to July 29th 2022.

Water management has a long tradition in Spain. With long, hot, dry summers, and areas where water is scarce, an efficient and rational use of water has always been a serious issue for the various peoples that inhabited the Iberian Peninsula. As a result, complex irrigation schemes and sophisticated water management machines were installed in many parts of the Peninsula throughout the centuries.

This document shows the design of a machine to raise water from the river Tagus (Tajo in Spanish) to the Alcázar of Toledo to supply the city with fresh water. It was designed by Giovanni Turriano (circa 1505-1585), known in Spain as Juanelo Turriano, an engineer and technical advisor to King Charles I.

The drawing was made in 1561, but construction of the invention seems to have been delayed until around 1565. The first engine he built was a success; it was working at full capacity by 1568. Despite some legal disputes, Turriano was commissioned to build a second one, which went into operation in 1581. Both mechanisms, known as Artificio de Juanelo, were considered engineering wonders at the time, and efficiently solved most of Toledo’s water problems.

The machines were in operation until 1639. By then, lack of maintenance and thefts rendered them inoperative. They were disassembled and abandoned.

Having in mind this 16th century invention, the Spanish designer Ángel Merlo created this glass bottle: a merchandising product for domestic or sport use for bringing water or drink easily.

Glass bottle created by Spanish designer Ángel Merlo.


You can find more info about the archival document and the product here:

“Diseño de un ingenio para subir agua del rio Tajo al Alcázar de Toledo y proveer a la ciudad”
ES.47161.AGS//MPD,27,3
General Archive of Simancas http://pares.mcu.es/ParesBusquedas20/catalogo/description/12893808?nm

Check out a 3D recreation of the Artificio de Juanelo:

Written by Spanish State Archives

The Pro-Finlandia Petition (1899)

The exhibition currently on display at the “Museum am Dom” in St. Pölten on the theme of “The Making of Europe – History, Memory and Myth of a 1000-Year Europeanism“, which was developed as part of the “Digital Treasures” project funded by the European Commission, is an excellent example of the timelessness of the subject. Each of the documents, carefully selected by the archives involved in the conception, symbolizes a particular aspect of European identity, the exact definition of which is still being struggled over today. 

One of these documents will be presented here as an example. It is a source document that has gone down in history as the “Pro Finlandia Petition”. It takes the viewer to the time of the struggle of the people of Finland for their independence and self-determination at the turn of the 19th century. Finland had been incorporated into the Russian Tsarist Empire since 1809 as a Grand Duchy with a certain degree of internal autonomy. However, it was precisely this autonomy that was opposed to the Russification policy embodied by Tsar Nicholas II in the late 19th century and was to be eliminated by a corresponding imperial manifesto.

Since the petitions and activities on the part of the Finnish population to at least leave the status quo did not find a hearing at the tsar’s court, an unprecedented Europe-wide initiative in the interest of Finnish emancipation was launched in 1899. In just three months, no fewer than 1064 signatures were collected from prominent public figures in the fields of science and art in twelve countries, demanding the inviolability of Finnish autonomy. Among the signatories were prominent names such as Florence Nightingale, Émile Zola, Anatole France, Herbert Spencer, Theodor Mommsen, Emilio Brusa, Vito Volterra, Edvard Grieg, Henrik Ibsen or Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld, who were regarded as distinguished and respected opinion leaders both in their countries and on an international level.

© National Archives of Finland.

Particularly noteworthy is the highly individual and in many cases splendidly executed cover pages of the petition in the individual states, which not least also represent the cultural diversity of Europe. In the end, the petition was not handed over because the tsar refused to accept it. Nevertheless, the “Pro Finlandia Petition” is and remains a significant testimony to lived solidarity with the legitimate interests of smaller ethnic and national groups threatened by autocratic and authoritarian systems of rule. Even then, it took courage and idealism to stand up to a major European power of the time, all the more so because the petition was a private initiative. These qualities are still indispensable prerequisites today in order to be able to stand up against state-directed falsification of history and authoritarian, inhuman practices, which are still part of the current reality in Europe. 

The example presented here shows that unremitting efforts can eventually be crowned with success, for strengthened by the awareness of European solidarity, the Finnish National Assembly adopted a Declaration of Independence in 1917, thus making the country a sovereign nation-state.

Written by Karl Heinz, International Centre for Archival Research

Opening of the exhibition “European Discoveries: From the New World to New Technologies” in Norway

The third of the three transmedia exhibitions included in the European Digital Treasures project, European Discoveries: From the New World to New Technologies, was successfully opened at the National Archives of Norway – Regional State Archives in Stavanger at the House of Archives on the 31st of May, 2022.

Exhibition Opening. © Ine Fintland.

The exhibition is open to the public until the beginning of September. It analyses the scientific and technological discoveries that have been vital engines for the material progress and wealth of Europe, through the documentary treasures kept by the European archives.

This exhibition tries to show that discoveries and inventions lie at the heart of Europe’s cultural heritage. Archives in Europe abound with documents and materials that witness the constant desire to explore and to discover, and these documents tell many different stories.
There are three pillars of this exhibition: Medicine, energy and industry, and transport and navigation. They are an attempt to provide a glimpse of the multifarious variety of stories, events and personalities involved in discoveries of many different types, during the long history of Europe. It is thus an exhibition not only about the discoveries themselves, but also about their archival memory, recording one of Europe’s most distinctive cultural traits.

In addition to the documents, the exhibition is completed with transmedia tools to bring its content closer through experimentation and play. Link to the catalogue– have a look!

Written by Ole Gausdal, director in charge of international relations
at the National Archives of Norway.

Opening of the exhibition ‘Exiles, Migratory Flows and Solidarity” in Malta

National Archives exhibition opening 17-05-22.

Yesterday, May 17th 2022, the second of a series of three exhibitions developed within the framework of the European Digital Treasures project was inaugurated in Malta.  On 17th of May, Minister Owen Bonnici opened the exhibition ‘Exiles, Migratory Flows and Solidarity’ at the head office of the National Archives of Malta in Rabat. 

The narratives displayed here combine different technological tools that allow us to get to know our past through multiple channels. We chose 47 documents from 22 archives from 9 countries to tell micro-stories that shaped Europe, hoping that the innovative products will allow visitors to experiment and play, to learn and share, as well as to feel moved by our common past.

Written by Leonard Callus, National Archives of Malta.

ICARUS Lecture: Digitized archival materials from different corners of Europe

On March 23rd, Dorottya Szabó – Senior Archivist and head of department of Digital Services National Archives of Hungary and Anabela Borges Teles Ribeiro, Head of Departments of Digital Contents Conservation and Restoration, at Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo, supported by Maria dos Remédios Amaral, gave the ICARUS Online Lecture #5 on the topic: Digitized archival materials from different corners of Europe: birth of transmedia exhibitions of the European Digital Treasures project.

The exhibitions aim at telling the stories and experiences hold inside European archives across multiple platforms and formats using various digital technologies, working together with cross-platform media and involving new publics.

Anabela Borges Teles Ribeiro

Anabela Ribeiro and Dorottya Szabó described the process of “making the exhibition”: the choice of documents and scientific work of historians, the digitization, the designer’s work, the creation of merchandising products, videos and entertainment apps in the different environments of Hungarian and Portuguese archives.

Dorottya Szabó


They also addressed the topic of managing these activities during a pandemic, which greatly affected the event’s schedule and opening of the exhibitions. Thanks to the efforts of the archival staff’s this process was successful and the exhibitions are currently open. Exhibition catalogues and materials are available at this page & check the Exhibition timeline.

See the session here or on the ICARUS YouTube channel!

For general information about the EDT Project please click here.

Stay tuned for more ICARUS Online lectures!

Written by Stella Montanari, International Centre for Archival Research.

Opening of the exhibition “European Discoveries: From the New World to New Technologies” at the General Archive of the Indies

The third of the three transmedia exhibitions included in the European Digital Treasures project, European Discoveries: From the New World to New Technologies, was successfully opened at the General Archive of the Indies (Spain) on the 29th of April.

The exhibition, open to the public until the 29th of July, analyses the scientific and technological discoveries that have been vital engines for the material progress and wealth of Europe, through the documentary treasures kept by the European archives.

This exhibition tries to show that discoveries and inventions lie at the heart of Europe’s cultural heritage. Archives in Europe abound with documents and materials that witness the constant desire to explore and to discover, and these documents tell thousands of different stories. The three pillars of this exhibition –Medicine, Energy/Industry, Transport/Navigation– are an attempt to provide a glimpse of the multifarious variety of stories, events and personalities involved in discoveries of many different types, during the long history of Europe. It is thus an exhibition not only about the discoveries themselves, but also about their archival memory, recording one of Europe’s most distinctive cultural traits.

In addition to the documents, the exhibition is completed with transmedia tools to bring its content closer through experimentation and play.

The opening was chaired by Severiano Hernández Vicente, Head of the Spanish State Archives, by María Oliván, Head of the Transparency, Document Management & Access to Documents Unit of the European Commission, and by Esther Cruces, Director of the General Archives of the Indies.

Practical information:

https://www.culturaydeporte.gob.es/cultura/areas/archivos/mc/archivos/agi/exposiciones-y-actividades/exposiciones/tesoros.html

Written by Spanish State Archives

Opening of the exhibition “Exiles, Migration Flows and Solidarity” at the National Archive of Torre do Tombo (Portugal)

The transmedia exhibition “Exiles, Migration Flows and Solidarity”, included in the European Digital Treasures Project, was opened in Lisbon (Portuguese National Archive – Torre do Tombo) on the 28th of April.

Nowadays, when Europe is facing serious migration crises, the present exhibition, the outcome of the European cooperation, analyzes issues like exiles and migration flows from a historical perspective, through 47 key documents spanning several centuries, kept in European archives. These documents are divided into three main categories:

  • work-related migration, encompassing stories of individuals and groups of individuals, but also of the transfer of expertise, vital to the economic and cultural development;
  • war-related migration, covering various types of conflicts, from rebellions and civil wars through to the world wars of the 20th century;
  • human costs associated with political uprising, turmoil and persecution.

All these documents are also included in the exhibition catalogue – have a look!

As in previous exhibitions, this one combines different technological tools that allow the public to get to know our written past through multiple channels. Visitors can interact with original documents, digital reproductions, quiz and video games, augmented reality experiences to explore parallel worlds and videos presenting the project.

On display are also the merchandising products, inspired by the selected documents for the three Digital Treasures exhibitions.

The opening was chaired by Silvestre Lacerda, General Diretor from the Books, Archives and Libraries of Portugal, by Severiano Hernández, General Subdirector of the Spanish State Arquives, by María Oliván, Head of Unit of Transparency, Document Management & Access to Documents of the European Commission and by Ole Gausdal, International Director at The  National Archives of Norway.

It also counted with the musical performance of the young entrants to the “Young Digital Treasures” contest.

Participants of the Young Digital Treasures contest framing the opening ceremony with their musical performance!

The exhibition can be visited until June 30th 2022 in Portugal.

Written by the National Archives of Portugal

‘Hydro Andric machine or garment to cover a man inside water’

Underwater garment – 1720 in Spain.

Máquina Hydroándrica o vestidura para cubrirse un hombre dentro del agua’, a ‘Hydro Andric machine or garment to cover a man inside water’ is one of the Spanish contributions to the third transmedia exhibition of the Project European Digital Treasures, “From the New World to New Technologies”, held by the General Archive of the Indies (Seville, Spain) from April 29th 2022 to July 29th 2022.

Underwater exploration has a very long history. Freediving took place since early antiquity in the Mediterranean Sea and in many other regions and seas around the world. Pearl fishing was an economic activity developed by the Spaniards in America since the 16th century and an important source of income for the Royal Treasury. It was done by indigenous divers, and later by Africans. 

The idea of using a contraption such as a diving bell to allow someone to remain underwater for extended periods has been with us for a long time. The limitations of these devices were well known: the methods used to provide air to the diver were very primitive and frequently led to fatalities. 

In the 18th century, different models of diving suits with breathing systems were developed to achieve a greater permanence of the diver under water. One of those is shown here: a project for an underwater garment that was presented in 1720 in Spain. Actually, as the document explains, only the external layer is presented here, to be used over the whole body armour, with hood and iron breeches. Concept and fabrication are attributed to Alexander Durand.

This interesting document has inspired the Spanish designer Ángel Merlo to create an inventive merchandising product: a personalized waterproof cover for backpacks.

EDT designer creation.

You can find more info about the record and the designer here:
Máquina Hydroándrica o vestidura para cubrirse un hombre dentro del agua’ (ES.41091.AGI//MP-INGENIOS,248) on PARES or Archives Portal Europe

Written by Spanish State Archives.