The initially scheduled exhibition (July 15th to September 25th) took place during most of the school summer vacation period and within some restrictions of access to cultural equipment imposed by the pandemic.
From October 1st Portugal enters the third phase of the deconfinement plan. In this new phase we expect to receive more visitors, especially from school groups and also seniors whose associations are resuming their usual study visit schedules.
This exhibition presents products designed to attract new audiences to the world of archives and to show the potential of the digital world, video games, augmented reality, serious games, in the dissemination of heritage.
In this post we will be speaking with Dóra Rea Kövér, Hungarian designer who was charged with designing by the National Archives of Hungary. Rea works as a freelancer designer and lecturer at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design (MOME, Moholy-Nagy Művészeti Egyetem).
This interview focuses on the designing process she made for the European Digital Treasures project. All her products as well as the other designs are part of the project’s product catalogue published in the product gallery menu.
Interviewer: Thank you Rea for taking the time to speak with me today on your work for the EDT project! School semesters are about to start so everyday life can get very busy for you now. Thank you for taking the time to interview with me. First of all, please tell me, how long did it take for your ideas to turn into tangible plans?
Rea: Thank you for the opportunity, I’m glad to answer your questions. It is quite difficult to define this process in time. In the beginning, the initial ideas had to be come up quite quickly, and then, in order for the products to be “born out of them”, they had to go through a lot of changes. These changes required a very different amount of time, for example, testing and developing a board game needed much more time than having a bookmark cut out of a metal plate based on a relatively simple template.
Interviewer: You made several plans for the archives, but not all of them were selected at the end. Are some of the unsealed that you regretted not making the final five?
Rea: Maybe so – but I prefer to consider the most important thing to implement the most suitable products for the given purpose. And exactly this was what happened.
Interviewer: Are there any of them that you think are feasible?
Rea: With proper improvements, all the original designs can become products.
Interviewer: Behind each plan, I feel a conscious and balanced choice of subject: the board game focuses on telling human stories, the time capsule focuses on their preservation, the travelling book-set on immortalization of notes and the impact (or lack) of travel on our lives, the bookmark on the connection between books and archives, while the inexhaustible pen emphasises the relationship between writing and the archival world. How conscious was this underlying message?
Rea: When I started working, I wanted to focus on topics that were actually related to archival life, the work done there: the storytelling and the preservation of stories in a broader sense. I thought it was important that the plans did not process the same activity, preferably each one should be different, so the variants were definitely a conscious decision. The phenomenon that these reports will eventually cover a larger field is rather a consequence of that effort.
Rea: Yes, I’ve been thinking about it, but I’m still considering what might be personally important, so I’m going to have to think about that a little bit.
Interviewer: We plan to use the time capsules at next summer’s international camp in Budapest. We plan to include you in the session where the competition winner students from Austria, Hungary, Norway, Malta, Portugal and Spain fill the time capsules with personal content. What do you expect? What do you think a high school student between the ages of 15 and 18 will hide in the capsule?
Rea: I can’t really predict… That’s why this is a good “experiment” to see what a teenager considers to be important for preservation from a tangible point of view.
Interviewer: I know from you that determining the alloy of the pen was very difficult. Without revealing your workshop secrets, will you tell me a little bit about the process?
Rea: Wow, in this subject, I wanted the metal of the pen to be the writing surface that leaves a mark on paper. Such a pen exists and it can be ordered, so I planned engraving on its surface. However, COVID crisis has greatly transformed the initial concepts, as I couldn’t count on an order, especially not from Asia, where these pens are manufactured. So, I had to find a metal to buy in Hungary, which would produce this effect. It wasn’t easy, and in the end, a magnesium aluminium rod became the solution.
Interviewer: You displayed quotes on two subjects: on the bookmark and on the pen. Are these passages of particular importance to you?
Rea: The Latin quote on the bookmark is a very early memory of equal opportunities and in general, equality, which is why it has caught my attention. It is rare to quote such thoughts from a perspective of 500 years. I liked the other quote for a different reason. On the one hand, you may feel a kind of tension from the sentence, with which József Kővágó tried to make the text as expressive, convincing, but emotional as possible. And there is also a sense of despair in the wording, known from the historical background (the fall of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956). The human side of the text was very plastic, one that immediately drags the reader into the historical event.
Interviewer: Have you tested the board game? If so, what were your experiences?
Rea: The gameworks, as I think the rules are good… We tested it several times with different companies, even during the design process. I hope those who will play with it will enjoy it as much as we did.
Interviewer: Thank you for your time! I really hope that we can work together in the future again! I wish you many new, exciting professional challenges and new successes!
Interview by Dorottya Szabó, senior archivist, National Archives of Hungary.
The aim of the workshop, among other activities, was to generate added value, visibility, and economic profitability of European archives, through the identification and implementation of new business models and activities.
The presentations of the speakers from institutions of Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and Hungary and were followed by a Q&A Session with people on site asking questions and also people interacting via YouTube chat. You can read about the workshops program and the speakers here.
30 people attended the workshop from Austria, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain and Portugal in person. Remotely we had more than 400 visualizations during the workshop with people from 16 European countries, the United States, 4 countries from Africa, 7 countries from Latin America and even attendees from Thailand!
You can still watch the workshop sessions here. Material provided by the speakers and a detailed report will follow soon!
The European Digital Treasures project team wants to sincerely thank all the speakers and everyone attending and participating in the workshop whether in person or remotely!
At around 1048 the Fatimid Caliph Al-Mustansir Billah gave permission to some merchants from the Republic of Amalfi to build a hospital in Jerusalem. The community, which was led by Blessed Gerard, ran the hospital and became independent during the First Crusade in around 1099. This was the origin of the Knights Hospitaller.
This Bull, issued by Pope Paschal II on 15th January 1113, is considered to be the founding charter of the hospital. It transformed what was a community of pious men into an institution within the church. By virtue of this document, the Pope officially recognized the existence of the new organisation as an integral and operative part of the Roman Catholic Church.
In it, the Pope formally recognized the foundation of the hospital, which became a lay-religious order under the sole patronage of the church. The Bull gave the right to elect its Grand Masters without interference from external authorities.
The Bull includes a list of the Order’s hospitals and hospices in France and Italy, indicating that it was not limited to the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem and that it already had a European dimension.
We introduce a new merchandising product developed for the project “European Digital Treasures”. It’s a set of soaps whose fragrances and properties are inspired by the plants, colours and textures of the west coast of India.
Every soap bar was produced using plants identified and described by Garcia de Orta in one of his 59 colloquies that constitute his work “Colloquies on the Simples and Drugs, and Medicinal Things of India, and on some fruits found there, where some things of practical medicine and other things good to know are addressed”, published in Goa, in April 10th, 1563. For each plant, the author, a Portuguese physician and botanist or naturalist, born in 1501, registered: the names in Portuguese, Greek, Latin, Sanscrit, Arabic and in several local dialects; the origin – the places where they spontaneously grew or were cultivated; the markets where they could be found; their characteristics, therapeutic uses and the way of administration.
All this knowledge was gathered and organized by Garcia de Orta over a period of more than thirty years spent in India. He left for India in March 12th, 1534 as the physician of the Captain-Major of the Sea of India, Martim Afonso de Sousa, whom he accompanied for four years, in campaigns on sea and land on the west coast of India, that took him from Diu to Ceylon and to the coast of Cambay. Orta went on an expedition to the region of Gujarat, was in the ports of northern India as well as inland, crossing the peninsula of Kathiawar, from Diu to Ahmedabad. He visited Concan, Canara and Malabar. At the end of 1538, Martim Afonso de Sousa returned to Portugal and Garcia de Orta stayed in Goa. He was the physician of viceroys, royal governors and Indian potentates. Orta was also a merchant, namely of drugs or of products of a medical nature, and owned his own ship.
Call for audio-visual (short documentary) projects
The partners of the European Digital treasures project have launched a call for short documentaries on the topic “Construction of Europe”!
Application dates: 15th June to 31st October 2021
Audio-visual creators based in Hungary, Malta, Norway, Portugal and Spain can participate in this call.
Our goal is the production of several short documentaries or animated documentaries based on documents held by our archives. These records, ranging between the Middle Ages and today, will contribute to better understanding of our shared European history and identity.
During this first phase, we are inviting audio-visual creators to submit:
a project description, their choice of the documents and a sample of the storyboard;
a short video explaining the project.
After this, the documentaries that are to be funded by our project will be chosen.
Munster Technological University (MTU) will organize an international encounter for the chosen audio-visuals in Cork, Ireland, on 20-22 April 2022. Eventually, these audio-visual productions will be presented during the annual convention of the International Centre for Archival Research (ICARUS) during the last quarter of 2022!
After more than two years of hard work, one of three transmedia exhibitions planned in the scope of the European Digital Treasures project will be open in Lisbon under the title European Discoveries: from the new world to new technologies. The event will take place at Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo, on 22nd of July 2021.
The idea of “discovery” – of exploring the unknown, of finding and trying new things, of creating new objects and artefacts, from innovative to conventional challenges – has been a constant in human and European history.
Over the centuries, its pursuit has united lands and peoples of various European nations in common endeavours. The story of the development of science and technological progress is truly a chapter of international cooperation in the history of Europe.
As the documents in this exhibition so clearly show, discoveries happened in Europe in the most diverse contexts, involving people from many different countries, in all historical periods: from isolated individual ventures to collective and even national undertakings; from the silence and comfort of a library to the controlled chaos of a construction site or a mine; from princely courts to artisans’ workshops. The protagonists and agents of these discoveries were a cross-section of European society. One finds famous intellectuals and anonymous craftsmen; highly skilled academics and almost illiterate sailors; aristocrats and workers, people from all countries and all levels of society.
While some of these documents refer to famous episodes and people who have become famous, others relate to stories that are much less known and almost forgotten. The variety of types of documents in this exhibition also confirms the variety of themes and contexts in which the desire to discover was exercised. One can find letters, books, photographs, X-ray images, drawings, manuscripts, printed leaflets, maps, reports, patent applications and much more, from the early Middle Ages to the 20th century.
Preserving the memory of the world of discoveries and inventions, of scientific progress and technological advances, is to protect one of the most characteristic elements of European identity and heritage.
The exhibition is organised around three pillars:
1 – Medicine
2 – Energy and Industry
3 – Transport and Navigation
The visitors can interact with:
9 original documents from Torre do Tombo
34 digital reproductions of documents from eight countries distributed by interactive exhibitors
3 documents that allow the visitors to experience augmented reality technology
3 video games
2 videos presenting the project and its merchandising products
The National Archive of Torre do Tombo is a central state archive of national scope. It holds a diverse universe of archival heritage, including original documents from the 9th century to the present day, in a wide variety of media, fulfilling its main mission to safeguard, enhance and disseminate this heritage.
Torre do Tombo is one of Portugal’s oldest institutions. Since its installation in one of the towers of S. Jorge Castle in Lisbon, in the 14th century, until 1755, it served as the Archives of the king, his vassals, the administration of the kingdom and overseas possessions, also keeping the documents resulting from relations with other kingdoms.
On 1st November 1755, the tower collapsed during an earthquake. The documentation was collected from the rubble and temporarily kept in a wooden hut. On 26th and 27th of August 1757, it was transferred to the São Bento da Saúde Monastery located in the west of the city.
In 1990 the archive was transferred again, this time to a new building, built from scratch to house the National Archive, located on the perimeter of the university city of Lisbon and classified as national heritage since 2012. With a floor area of 54 235m2, it has seven floors, four of which are for storerooms that house 140 linear km of shelving. From around 35 linear km of documentation when it was transferred to the new building, it has now reached the present day with around 100 linear km.
It is therefore in this magnificent building guarded by its 8 majestic gargoyles that the European Digital Treasures project will take place!
The illuminated capital letters and marbled endpapers of the binding inspired the drawings of the new merchandise product, an écharpe, presented in a transparent envelope, which is 100% recycled material, containing contextual information about the document that inspired it and about the National Archive of Torre do Tombo.
The following video presents the various stages of the creation and development process of this product.
Written by Mário Sant’Ana, Senior Technician / E-administration and innovation and Ana Isabel Fernandes (trad.), Senior Technician / Communication Office, Torre do Tombo National Archive, General Directorate of Books, Archives and Libraries, Portugal
TheCharter of Law is included in the first exhibition of the European Digital Treasures project “The Construction of Europe” as one of the records representing the intellectual Heritage of Enlightenment.
Portugal was one of the pioneering countries with a law to abolish the Death Penalty for civil crimes. The law was approved by the Portuguese Parliament and published on July 1st, 1867.
How had this issue been discussed in the early times of European abolitionism in the 18th and 19th century? It was a time when philosophers, jurists, poets, writers, publicists and some state rulers discussed and implemented, with advances and retreats, penal reforms with more efficient laws against criminality, but also more respectful for human dignity: cruel and corporal punishments, executions exuberantly carried out in public became less common. Cesare Beccaria, a philosopher and jurist of Milan, published, in 1764, his famous and influential criminology essay “On Crimes and Punishments”. He proposed some of the first modern arguments against the Death Penalty. He was deeply opposed to the capital punishment, which was rare for a time where this sanction was an acceptable response for many crimes. He openly condemned the Death Penalty and argued: the state does not possess the right to take lives; the Death Penalty is a crime legitimated by law; capital punishment is neither a useful nor a necessary form of punishment.
In the mid of the 19th century, Europe saw a new wave of abolitionism. In 1848 the Death Penalty was abolished in San Marino, Freiburg and Neufchatel. In France, Victor Hugo launched a vigorous campaign which contributed to the abolition of the Death Penalty for political crimes in 1848.
Victor Hugo, the French novelist and a fervent abolitionist celebrated the pioneers of the abolition of the Death Penalty in Portugal as an achievement and hope for the European abolitionist movement. He writes, on the 2nd July, 1867, to Eduardo Coelho, director of the newspaper ”Jornal de Notícias”:
(…). I congratulate your parliament, your thinkers, your writers and your philosophers!I congratulate your nation. Portugal gives the example to Europe. Enjoy this immense glory beforehand. Europe will follow Portugal. Death to death! War to war! Hate to hate! Hurray to life! Liberty is an immense city, of which we’re all citizens. I shake your hands as my compatriots of humanity.”
As part of its commitment to defending Human Rights, the EU is the largest donor in the fight against Death Penalty worldwide. All EU countries have abolished the Death Penalty in line with the European Convention on Human Rights. All over the world the death penalty seems to decline. Although over 60% of the world’s population live in countries where the Death Penalty continues to exist.
As European citizens we also have the chance to look at this past as a springboard to the future of Human Rights in Europe and in the world. As an important milestone in the promotion of European Values of Citizenship, with special focus on Human Rights, theCharter of Law was awarded the European Heritage Label, in 2015. The record isaccessible in six EU languages.
Written by Maria Trindade Serralheiro, Senior Technician / Information, Statistics and Quality Systems, General Directorate of Books, Archives and Libraries, Portugal Ana Isabel Fernandes (trad.), Senior Technician / Communication Office, Torre do Tombo National Archive, General Directorate of Books, Archives and Libraries, Portugal
After more than two years of work in the preparation of the three transmedia exhibitions included in the European Digital Treasures project, yesterday, 29th of June, the first one, The Construction of Europe – History, Memory and Myth of Europeanness over 1000 Years, was successfully opened at the Archive of the Crown of Aragon (Spain).
This exhibition is the outcome of the European cooperation, a clear example of the combination of the capacities, heritage, diversity, value, and inspiration of all those who have made this project possible.
The narratives displayed here combine different technological tools that allow us to get to know our written past through multiple channels. Visitors can interact with: 8 original documents from 4 different archives, 20 facsimiles from 7 countries, 22 digital reproductions of documents from 6 countries, displayed in interactive booths, 1 quiz game for people who love challenges, 1 memory matching game to encourage observation, 1 infinite running game to reward speed by catching archival documents, 1 interactive RPG game to learn how to work on an archive, 4 augmented reality experiences to explore parallel worlds and videos presenting the project and its merchandising products!
During yesterday’s morning, there was a presentation for the media and, later, after the opening ceremony, a representative of the National Archives of Hungary, Zoltán Szatucsek, responsible for curating the exhibition, did a guided tour for the guests.
The opening was chaired by María Dolores Jiménez-Blanco, general director of Fine Arts of the Ministry of Culture and Sports of Spain; by Silvestre Lacerda, general director of the Book, Archives and Libraries of Portugal on behalf of the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the European Union; and by María Oliván, head of the Transparency, Document Management & Access to Documents Unit of the European Commission. It was also attended by the members of the ‘European Digital Treasures’ project from the National Archives of Norway, Hungary and Malta and a representation of the Spanish State Archives, led by Severiano Hernández, deputy director of the Spanish State Archives.
Additionally, the Archive of the Crown of Aragon also hosted a semi-virtual meeting of the European Archives Group (EAG). The first meeting of this group since 2019.